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BJJ Legend Marcus Almeida Is Stronger Than Ever

Marcus Almeida is a 17-time Brazilian jiujitsu world champion and with six of these titles achieved within the open-weight class, “Buchecha” (which means “cheek”) is an undoubtedly record-holding icon of the game.

Having dominated BJJ for over a decade, the 32-year-old signed with ONE Championship in 2020 to start his MMA profession, and will probably be trying to enhance on his already spectacular 3-0-0 file when he faces Kirill Grishenko (5-1-0) in the course of the promotion’s extremely anticipated return to Amazon Prime Video.

Marcus Almeida sat down with M&F to debate the harm that delayed his MMA debut, the way it made him a greater fighter in the long term, and why he’s having fun with life in a brand new sport.

Courtesy of ONE Championship

Congratulations with how issues have been going at ONE. How are you feeling proper now?

I’m feeling actually nice. I’m going into my fourth battle and acquired the job accomplished on the earlier battle (towards Simon Carson), so I’m actually snug proper now within the new sport. I’m actually having fun with the experience.

You first began speaking about making the transition to MMA in 2015, however it was 2021 while you lastly debuted with ONE Championship. I suppose life had different plans, proper?

Yeah, 2015 was once I was planning to battle my final (Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) championship, however sadly I acquired damage and I tore my left knee, and I needed to [have] surgical procedure and that took me a yr to come back again. So, then all my plans modified due to the surgical procedure and in my head, I needed to come again and battle jiujitsu once more as a result of leaving the sector like that wasn’t the final reminiscence that I wished to have in Jiu-Jitsu. I got here again, I fought, in 2016 I received however I wasn’t so dominant [and I thought], you already know what? I can squeeze in yet another yr. Then yet another yr, and yet another yr, till 2019, in order that’s once I ended up breaking all of the information and turning into the most important champion (of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu championship). In 2020, I felt that my mission was accomplished in the Jiu-Jitsu sport and competitors, so I don’t have the rest to show and it’s time to maneuver on, it’s time to go to MMA as a result of I all the time wished to, and right here we’re.

Do you assume that you just continued with BJJ in order that you might gauge how the knee harm was therapeutic, and did the method really assist to make you a greater fighter?

Oh yeah, completely, as a result of the harm modified me a lot. After the harm, it adjustments the particular person, the athlete, every little thing as a result of it made me have a look at every little thing with a distinct viewpoint. In fact, I wouldn’t be assured to kick with my left leg (in MMA) instantly after the surgical procedure, so staying in Jiu-Jitsu gave me the arrogance again that I wanted. Now, once I’m coaching, I don’t even give it some thought anymore.

MMA fighter and legendary BJJ Marcus Almeida in a dominate position and doing ground work aginst his opponent
Courtesy of ONE Championship

Did the harm drive you to learn to develop into a extra defensive fighter?

Yeah, my recreation modified a lot. Earlier than the surgical procedure I used to go ahead, prefer to assault a lot with leg locks and foot locks, however each time that you just assault any individual’s foot, you kinda expose your foot. So after the surgical procedure I performed a a lot safer recreation to guard my knee, however alternatively I used to be matching everybody as a result of I used to be controlling a lot. I realized use my body weight so significantly better, and that’s when my passing and my strain recreation began getting higher, and I began arm-barring everybody (laughs). I believe 2016 was the yr I received virtually each battle by submission from an armbar.

Studying to not expose your self a lot should be an necessary lesson for serving to your profession in MMA?

You don’t wanna get uncovered and get actually damage so I believe the mindset kinda helped for this. The best way that I used to be utilizing the jiujitsu (put up harm) is what I’m attempting to use to MMA as a result of I wish to use the strain. I wish to use my weight.

What’s it that you’re loving most about MMA?

I’ve been doing (BJJ) since I used to be 13 years previous. It’s been virtually 20 years and so there’s not a lot change or pleasure moreover the educational. MMA, for me, each day is like one thing new. Every single day I’m studying quicker, so I see the distinction after each coaching [session]. In MMA, I really feel like a white belt in a brand new sport. There’s this fireplace to strive one thing new.

In MMA, it’s good to strike your opponent versus BJJ the place it’s principally disallowed. How have you ever discovered this transition?

After I got here to MMA, I did zero hanging. I had some wrestling [experience] however now every little thing is like ranging from scratch.

How are you engaged on growing the ability of your strikes?

Almeida: Being sincere, the coaching that I like a lot is the sparring classes. In fact, being a heavyweight, you must watch out with the sparring classes. I prepare with bag work, pads, however what I actually love to do is to go and put the gloves on and do a sparring session with one other huge man, like me.

Your previous BJJ rival Gordon Ryan has reportedly signed with ONE Championship however hasn’t fought but. Would you be fascinated about combating Ryan in an MMA atmosphere if it was supplied?

Yeah. Being sincere, I don’t even know if he’s combating there anymore however after all, for MMA I’d battle him and it will be a enjoyable match to do as a result of we’re each from a jiujitsu background. However now I’ve extra expertise than him. I’m going into my fourth MMA battle and he doesn’t have any, so I believe it wouldn’t be the perfect debut for him however it will be a enjoyable battle and naturally, I’d battle him. I’m in search of increased opponents who can put me in a greater place to battle for the belt. That’s the objective.

It’s an thrilling time to be a part of ONE Championship with occasions being broadcast on Amazon Prime Video. How do you are feeling about combating on that platform towards Grishenko?

That’s an enormous step for the ONE group, for the athletes, and a terrific alternative as a result of I believe [Amazon Prime Video] is among the greatest platforms on this planet and so this will probably be even greater, particularly for the U.S. viewers. We are able to present the way in which that we see martial arts. We’re going on the market and attempting to point out our abilities with a number of respect. That’s the entire level of the group and one of many explanation why I really like ONE Championship a lot.

I’m all the time assured if I step on the market. I’ve the talents. [Grishenko] is de facto robust. He’s going to be the primary wrestler that I’ll battle. Individuals assume that I received’t go on the market and attempt to take him down however I’m an MMA fighter now. I do know that I’ve to strike, I’ve to do every little thing, and that’s why I’m coaching a lot. I do know he’s prepared for me, and I’m prepared for him.

Marcus Almeida will battle Grishenko on the primary card below Moraes vs. Johnson II, reside from the Singapore indoor Stadium from 10pm EDT on August 26 by way of Amazon Prime Video 1. The lead card kicks issues off from 8pm EDT. Extra for information go to

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