Saulo Ribeiro in his match yesterday against Jason Bukich (seated).
I caught up with Saulo Ribeiro briefly at the conclusion of the 2008 BJJ No-Gi World Championships yesterday to gather his thoughts after he won the gold medal in the black belt middle heavyweight division.
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The FightWorks Podcast: How are you Saulo?
Saulo Ribeiro: Good, man, one more day in the office, you know?
The FightWorks Podcast: Tell us real quickly about your match with Gregor Gracie in the finals.
Saulo Ribeiro: Gregor for me is kind of a cousin, you know? He has been around the circuit for so long. When I was a black belt, he was a yellow belt. So it’s kind of an upcoming generation of the Gracies. Now Gracies are in the transition for the new generation of Gracies that are coming. And it’s a pleasure, you know, to fight with the kids.
Gregor and Igor are going to get a lot of experience from fighting me. It’s hard to fight me. If I had to fight me I would have to really think about a strategy because if you let me get the lead, it’s going to be really hard to come back. I am training hard. I think if someone is going to beat me they’re going to have to steal my heart and I think my heart is really big, and it paid off.
The FightWorks Podcast: When you got up from the mats, when you were announced the winner, you pointed at someone in the crowd. Who was it, and why?
Saulo Ribeiro: (I pointed) To my brother, because I think that some people from Gracie Barra owe him an apology because my brother never disrespected anybody, my brother never played cheap with anybody, and to hear what they said to my brother was not nice.
We always respect everybody. We never put anybody down. And Roger Gracie has all our respect. He is like an idol for all of us. We love to fight him because we know that we’re going to become better if we fight him. I think that when you fight somebody at that caliber you become him a little bit, you steal a little bit of his toughness and his skills.
That’s why the best have to fight against each other, have to train against each other, because we want to see the best jiu-jitsu in the world.
The FightWorks Podcast: What is the best city in the United States for Brazilian jiu-jitsu today?
Saulo Ribeiro: Oh definitely San Diego California, the University of Jiu-Jitsu. It was not our idea, but it just became like that. Thank God, in my opinion today we have the best training camp for MMA as well. I think that with the students we have over there, not only that but hard-working people. Because the only way to get better is hard work. If you don’t work that hard, it’s impossible to get better. I can tolerate everything. I can tolerate conceipt, but self-pity is just something that chaps my ass. When I see people complain, “Oh, the judge, the referee stole the fight from me…”, I think this is loser talk. And that’s what we do, we just train hard.