No Gi Worlds Silver Medalist Justin Rader: “It Was an Honor to Compete Against Cobrinha Once Again”

Justin Rader Oklahoma jiu-jitsu
Justin Rader’s hand is raised after he defeated Samir Chantre at the 2012 IBJJF No Gi World Championship last weekend.

The FightWorks Podcast: You have been successful in the IBJJF World No-Gi Championships for several years now. In 2009 you won gold medal as a brown belt, in 2010 you won the gold medal as a black belt, and in 2011 and 2012 you earned silver medals as a black belt. What comments do you have about your performance over the weekend?

Justin Rader: The No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu World Championships is a tournament I’ve had a lot of success at during my career, with 4 finals appearances in the past 4 years (3 as a black belt), two gold medals, and one gold medal as a black belt. This past weekend was just one more showing of how far I’ve come and where I stand on the World Championship stage. Obviously it was not the end result I wanted, and I’ll never be satisfied with 2nd place, but it just shows I’ve got more learning and work to do to come back even stronger. Overall though, I am proud of my performance at this year’s No-Gi World Championships. I had some great matches against Ed Ramos, Samir Chantre, and Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles. I fought each match with the same intensity and heart I always expect of myself, giving it everything I had, and I have no regrets.

In truth, this was probably one of the hardest training camps I’ve ever endured to get ready for this tournament as well. I’m not sure how many people know, but I’m still in school and work 40 hours per week as an intern for dietetics, and then I try to find time for strength and conditioning and training. I had many people tell me I would likely not be able to compete, and just as many tell me I shouldn’t even try. And there were plenty of times I questioned myself through training on whether I was making the right decision, and whether I could train like I need to for a tournament like this. Through this struggle though, I realized just how great a support group of coaches, mentors, and close friends I have around me, who inspire and push me, and convinced me to finish training camp and this tournament the right way, no matter the outcome.

I’m not entirely sure what next year is going to bring for me competition wise, and I’ve got some big plans and decisions to make, so be sure to stay tuned and follow me on and on twitter @DarthRader86.

The FightWorks Podcast: A gentleman who goes by the name Cobrinha has prevented you from bringing home the gold at the No Gi Worlds for two years in a row. Did you expect him to stand in your path again this year, and if so did you make any special preparations for the encounter?

Justin Rader: Cobrinha is a great champion, who has now won 4 titles each in the gi worlds and no-gi worlds as a black belt, and a humble competitor. It was an honor to compete against him once again. I absolutely expected to see him back, and I had envisioned another finals match against him for a whole year. We’ve had some great matches against each other in the past, and this one was no different. I had worked on some different things leading up to this tournament, both from the take-down game and ground game, and Cobrinha was ready for it and did a great job. Again, I’m not satisfied with the end result, but I congratulate Cobrinha on another great performance and match, and I’m sure it won’t be the last time we compete against each other.

The FightWorks Podcast: What are your thoughts on the 2012 No Gi World Championships as a whole? Did you see anyone’s performance that particularly impressed you?

Justin Rader: I thought the tournament as a whole was a pretty good tournament. Of course it had its high points and low points, as with all tournaments, and I do hope that its lows are addressed and improved upon in years to come.

Xande Ribeiro’s performance was very impressive this past weekend. Xande came away with a double gold performance, winning both his division and the absolute division. Xande had many great matches, fighting all of the best guys at the tournament, and coming out on top each time. Xande was solid in all of his matches, and was very impressive to watch. Huge congrats to him.

I’d also like to comment on DJ Jackson’s impressive performance. DJ has not been a black belt for very long I don’t believe, and he walked into the tournament, had some great matches in the absolute division, and ended up winning his first black belt world title in his division. He stuck with what he did best, and had a great tournament. Congrats to him as well.

The FightWorks Podcast: Can we expect to see you in action again on December 8th at the Long Beach Fall International Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship, fighting for a chance to compete for $5,000 in the first ever IBJJF Pro League later that evening?

Justin Rader: I do not have any plans on competing in the Long Beach Open or IBJJF Pro later this year. I’m still in school (until January 2013), and I only have so many days I can get away, and I used them to train and compete at the No-Gi Worlds. I’ll once again have a lot more time to dedicate to training once next year rolls around, and I can’t wait to see what next year has in store.

The FightWorks Podcast: Your email address refers to “Darth Rader”. Are you a Star Wars fan and if so, what are your thoughts on the Star Wars franchise becoming property of the Disney Corporation?

Justin Rader: Haha, yes I am a Star Wars fan. That’s a nickname that has been thrown around quite a bit as I was growing up, and being a fan, it has kinda stuck. As a fan, my first reaction to Disney buying the Star Wars franchise was “NNNOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!”, haha. But I really don’t have many thoughts on Disney buying the franchise, and I haven’t heard exactly what they plan to do either. If they decide to make more Star Wars movies, I just hope they do a great job!

The FightWorks Podcast: Anything else, Justin?

Justin Rader: I’d like to thank my parents, Master Rafael Lovato Jr., my wrestling coach Andy Howington, my close friends and mentors, all my students and teammates at Lovato’s School of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and MMA, and my sponsors OnTheMat, Lucky Gi, Tirey’s Training, 1914 BJJ Kimonos, and Novatek Laboratories for all their support and helping me get to where I am today. I’m also available for seminars. Be sure to message me if you’re interested.

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