ADCC 2009 under 65KG Champion Rafael Mendes has beenappearing on the radar’s for some time. This year however he burst into thescene with a vengeance including winning ADCC with a magnificent final over theman who has dominated the division in BJJ and Submission grappling for the lastcouple of year in Rubens “Cobrinha”. We wanted to find out what gotRafa Mendes to excel!
KP- What did you think of the event
RM- It is an excellent event. It was the first time competing in it for meand I loved it. The best fighters, the best organization
KP- What were your expectations beforethe event? And how the actual event live up to it?
RM- I knew it was going to be a tough event with the best fighters in the Worldcompeting but I had a lot of confidence in myself. I know it is hard to havesomeone who trains harder than I and that could be more ready than I was. If Ibelieved in myself and my abilities I was capable of winning. And this wasexactly how I went and competed in the event
KP- What was your toughest match?
RM- It was the finals against “Cobrinha”. We fought for 40minutes, spent a lot of energy, in the end I felt he got tired at the secondovertime and I maintained my attacks and was able to get his back
KP- There was a lot of controversy aboutthe 50/50 guard that you and your brother champion. It got labeled as a stallguard (including myself), and consequently yourself as well. What I saw in theevent was a fighter that was always going forward looking for the finish.What you have to say about that?
RM- Many started to label the 50/50 as bad because they don’t know how toescape from it, and because there are people who use it and don’t know how toattack from it because they don’t know all the variations and options. Everyonethat knows me and my and my brother’s history knows that we never stall inorder to win. We always train very hard to do our best and give it our most inevery fight in competition and thank goodness we have had great results. Aswith all positions and different guards, the closed guard, spider, half-guard,those who want to stall can’t and will stall but we always use them to attack!
KP- This was great year for you, you wonso many tournaments. What else can you look for in such a young career?
RM- This was really a great year, I won ADCC trials, ADCC 2009, WorldProfessional in Abu Dhabi, World Professional trials, the Asian Cup (AbuDhabi) and Deep in Japan.
KP- So what else can you be aiming for?
RM- I am very young. I am 20 years old but I have a lot of desire and willpower to win every tournament that I compete in. I want to win more Worlds, Ihave plenty of time to do that I want to win more Worlds and ADCC than anyonein my weight has ever won! This is my objective, to make history! I know it isnot going to be easy but I am very determined and focused and I believe inmyself. To me believing is the secret to being a champion!
KP- Anyone special you want to thank?
RM- I want to thank Kimonos Dragao, Bull Terrier and the company Rio ClaroSan Miguel Arcanjo who they’ve always believed in me and supported me evenbefore I got the results! I want to thank my girlfriend Renata who is mygreatest inspiration. I want to dedicate my victory to Rodrigo Caporal and EduardoRamos who were fundamental in my training and preparation for ADCC.Without them I wouldn’t have won!