Today 2008 Black Belt Absolute Division World Champion Xande Ribeiro sat down with The FightWorks Podcast to explain his absence from the 2009 Brazilian jiu-jitsu World Championships which will take place this coming weekend in Long Beach, California. Ribeiro won the gold medal in the black belt adult male heavyweight and absolute divisions in 2008 with victories over Alexandre Souza (Gracie Florianopolis) and Roger Gracie (Gracie Barra), respectively. Many jiu-jitsu observers were anticipating the 2009 absolute division to result in a rematch between historical rivals Xande Ribeiro and Roger Gracie again this year. In a vote here on The FightWorks Podcast, 66% of respondents expected the two to face off for the absolute title.
This widely held prediction was not to be, however. Saturday it was announced that Xande Ribeiro was not going to compete at all this year in the Mundials because of a knee injury.
The FightWorks Podcast was able to visit the University of Jiu-Jitsu here in San Diego where Xande and his brother Saulo Ribeiro host Gracie Humaita’s athletes who are preparing for the BJJ World Championships this weekend. In this video, Xande explains his absence from the 2009 Mundials. Among other statements from the champion, Ribeiro states:
I’m sorry to my fans that I won’t be there competing but I will be there representing my team Gracie Humaita, hopefully for the team title, and to see who will be the black belt absolute champion. I have my favorite [contender for the 2009 black belt absolute champion title], I know my favorite is going to win, and I still expect to fight him next year.
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And remember we’re getting together for coffee on Sunday morning at the World Championship!