Fighting Lifestyle UAE’s Derek Gamblin caught up with one of the legends of Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros ahead of his fight against Saulo Ribeiro at Metamoris 4 on August 9th, The Metamoris 4 card is set to showcase ADCC Champion Andre Galvoa vs Chael Sonnen & Josh Barnett vs Dean Lister.
Question: At what age did you start training BJJ and why?
“I first began training at age 9, but that lasted only two months. I didn’t really begin to seriously train until I was 16. I then began to train with a training partner, my cousin Mauricio, after that I fell in love with BJJ and stuck with it. I had been bitten by the BJJ bug.”
Question: Comprido BJJ is affiliated to Brasa, which was at one point one of the biggest teams in the world. What does the future hold for both Comprido BJJ and Brasa?
“When we created Brasa, we had a lot of friends working together, but we were kind of immature at that point. A lot of water has passed under the bridge, and a lot of things have happened, but Brasa remains. After I moved to Chicago, seven years ago, I started to put an association together. We are solid here in the Midwest. And I try to make sure that we are all working together, all having the same goals, and all moving in the same direction. When the team is united, only good things can come.
Recently, we had one of my former students join forces with us in competitions, and at the major tournaments we go under the name BrasaCTA, in association with Caio Terra. This partnership is helping to elevate our technical level a lot.”
Question: At your academy how important do you think it is to get kids involved in BJJ at an early age, and why?
“I believe that BJJ helps to build strength of character in children, teaches them to be responsible for their actions, and to make their own decisions. Of course, it is a great sport and self-defense art, but the most important thing that BJJ does is to help build a strong individual overall. On top of that, if you have more time with a good teacher the young will grow to be better technically and stronger athletes, so we are building future champions and improving the level of BJJ in the world.”
Question: Who has influenced your BJJ game the most and why?
“Of course, Fernando Gurgel (Magrao) who was my teacher and whose style I copied for a long, long time. Leonardo Viera was also one from whom I learned a lot. I also love to watch guys like Nino Schembri, Ze Mario, Roleta, Jamelao, Ronaldo Jacare, Felipe Costa, Braulio Estima, Roger Gracie, Buchecha and many others. All of these have high level BJJ and they developed different ways to impose their particular styles. And this I also try to emulate.”
Question: You have been very have been very vocal with your views on the use of Performance Enhancing Drugs in BJJ. In your opinion what do you think should be done to eradicate this problem?
“I believe that every federation, organization and association in BJJ should test for steroids. We should not have to pretend that it is fine to face someone who is cheating on the mat. And the use of steroids is not just cheating, it is illegal. About the other, recreational, drugs, they are also illegal and can land one in jail for their use, and it is a shame that there are some who claim to use them for medical reasons when, in fact, they are using them recreationally. We all know that there is no way that any of these drugs help to improve one’s BJJ in any way. Anyone who says differently is already brain damaged from their use.”
Question: It has just been announced that you are fighting Saulo Ribeiro at Metamoris 4 how is training going and what can your fans expect to see from Comprido on the night?
“Training is going well. I’ve already begun my preparations, and I am feeling great. Saulo is a great opponent. His qualities and accomplishments on the mat have no parallel. But I am confident that we will put on a good fight for the fans, and I will do my best to walk out that night with a victory. But do not expect too many berimbolos, worm guards, double guard pullings, or 50/50s (laughs)”
Question: How was your UFC experience training Brock Lesnar, are you still in contact with him?
“My experience was great. It was great working with a professional athlete in a professional sport. I did work with several other fighters as well at UFC, but for obvious reasons Brock is the one who offered me the most intense experience in cross training in other martial arts. I made great friends and had the opportunity to work with some of the best coaches in MMA and sport wrestling, and I am very glad to have had that experience in my life. We keep up with one another, and I had an opportunity to watch him perform at WWE, which, due to my background was a great experience.”
Question: Having trained with Demian Maia for his UFC fight what do think the future holds for him as a fighter?
“Everything depends upon Demian. That is a rough sport, where things can happen very fast. One day you are fighting for the championship, and the next you are on the undercard. But I believe that Demian has what it takes to win the title and I will do everything in my power to help him in that endeavour.”
Question: You previously mentioned that you would consider fighting MMA, would we ever see Comprido in the octagon?
“No. That is not in my plans. The only way you’ll see me fighting in the octagon is if a fight breaks out in the octagon, like when the corners get involved, and I have to jump in to help (laughs)”
“Please check out our Brazilian Black Belt camp in Cancun, Sept. 4-14, where I will be sharing the mat and giving seminars with Felipe Costa and Ricardo De La Riva. Check it out at www.brazilianblackbelt.com. Also check out www.metamoris.com for the pay-per-view of the show.”