From:Insidebjj.com

InsideBJJ

You have an interesting story with how you got started and progressed in jiu-jitsu. Can you talk a little bit about that?

Caio

I was fifteen and I was around 85 pounds and I started fighting all the time at school. Since I fight back, the kids started picking on me and since I fight back the kids were fighting more and more against me. They saw I could fight back and they just wanted to be famous at school saying they beat someone. So after one year of doing that, the next year it was happening again and my mother got tired and told me that I should start doing jiu-jitsu. I didn’t want to because I had some other things going on like soccer and other stuff. So, she ended up doing jiu-jitsu with me and kind of forcing me to go. So, in the first three months and doing jiu-jitsu with me but she didn’t want to be there. She was just being there because she thought that I should do it. And I didn’t want to be there because I didn’t want to learn anything. You know so I actually didn’t learn anything in the first three months.

Then after that she left and I kept going but like twice a week maybe. Then, then I started training but I didn’t want anything serious and I end up competing in the next year. My instructor end up changing you know. Things like that happened. The new instructor, Leo Viera’s brother, Ricardo Viera, wanted me to train hard and he didn’t want me just sitting and watching. Since my mother also left, I wasn’t just playing around because I didn’t have anything to do if I [wasn’t] trying to learn. I was kind of thinking it was kind of boring but I kept coming because I owe that to my mother. Then, my instructor, he wanted to give me my blue belt because he was just feeling bad for me. I was just a small guy and blah blah blah [Caio’s words] and this kind of stuff. I actually thought that I didn’t deserve it but I thought that it would be cool to be a blue belt so I didn’t question. But anyone [everyone] was giving me a hard time. Even a little kid would give me a hard time at the time. I was actually a little kid being seventeen. I was like 95 pounds at the time. Then my instructor told me that I should compete and blah blah blah [Caio’s words]. Like Felipe Costa actually was the one saying that I should compete you know. And actually in the tournament I only had like a couple moves I swear. I only know like two moves and it was the only two moves that I used to do. And I tapped everybody on that move. And then I went to the finals against Bruno Malficine and I locked him in a triangle then the armbar escape. Then he went and did the same move to me and end up tapping me out in the armbar in the last minute. But I was really nervous every fight. I was telling my coach I don’t want to come back. I want to go. I want to leave. I don’t care. Things like that. I was very very nervous. Once it ended, I was like, “Oh my God! That was the best adrenaline I ever felt.”

By that time I was training twice a week. After that [tournament experience] I was training once a day or twice a day. Most the time I was training twice a day. Then I done the World’s and I won four fights and submitted four guys. In the finals I lost by one advantage. So that gave me even more motivation to train and train and train. I started training really hard like three times a day sometimes. I actually ended up training three times because I was too advanced in school and they told me I could just do a proof so I could move one year up. So I did three months school and then the rest I was just training day, afternoon and night, like training very hard. It’s funny because I was training with three different instructors. Every time they trained, I was training. They used to train at different times but I used to train at all of their times. So I got a lot of different views of jiu-jitsu at that time.

Then the next year, I did really good at that year. I was winning all the tournaments. It was very hard for me because I was fighting at cruiser weight at 126, 126.5 with the gi. But I was probably like 118 with the gi. I was very very light for the weight. I was really light for the weight at the time when i was eighteen. That’s because I gained a lot of weight from one year to the other. I gained a lot of weight from seventeen because when I was seventeen I was around 95 pounds. Then I gained a lot of weight and I started doing good with big years.

In the middle of 2004, after the Worlds, I end up fighting with my instructor, not a fight but a verbal fight. It was nothing that I did but he didn’t believe me. The other coach believed me and wanted me to stay but he was the owner of the gym. I told him that because he said that he would never be my friend any more and things like that that I would leave him. He said fine and you know he was very prideful. So I ended up leaving and going to Strauch to train with Paulo Strauch and Reylon Gracie. Then also I build a mat at home. I took all the walls down from the bedrooms and the living room and I made a really big mat. At that time, people couldn’t train at other academies only their own academies or affiliated. So since they couldn’t train at different academies and they wanted to train with friends. They used to go to my house because my house wasn’t an academy. In the theory it wasn’t an academy, but it was an academy. We used to train a lot at my house. People used to wake me up to train. People used to wake me up at night to train too, you know. Like at midnight, people would come to train. I would train every time they would come to train. Even Felipe Costa, he would come twice a day to train at my house. In 2006, he was coming a lot. We used to see each other three times a day sometimes you know. A lot of people came to my house. A lot of good black belts and a lot of known black belts that people know were coming. I think that’s why it made me very good so quickly.

So I was a blue belt when I left [Brasa] in August. In August 2004, I was still a blue belt. Then in September, I put the mats in my house. In the middle of 2005, I was still a blue belt. In the middle of 2006, I was a black belt. So it took me a year to get my black belt from my blue.

InsideBJJ

You had so many high quality people you were training with on a regular basis.

Caio

When I got my black belt the first year, I won all the tournaments. The only tournament that I lost was the World Cup [2007]. I actually had problems and I wasn’t training for it and I fought light feather. I was not even in shape when I competed at the World Cup, and I lost in my first match and it never happened before. I never lost in my first match before the World Cup. And then one month or two months I competed here in America in the World’s [2007]. And I end up beating the guy that won the World Cup at light feather and I beat him at light feather too. I end up losing to Esquisito [Pan Ams 2010] by the ref’s decision.  But all the other tournaments I won and I got second place in the World’s No-GI in 2007. And I won and beat a lot of good black belts at the time. I was actually a black belt – a very good black belt at that time – not just a regular black belt. So I got my black belt in one year but I was a very good black you know. I was not just one more black belt.

InsideBJJ

You trained with Felipe Costa and you’re in the documentary, “Path to Success”. One of things about the documentary that strikes a lot of people is that Felipe talks about how it took him a very very long time before he became successful in jiu-jitsu. He talks about how he lost a lot, and how he struggled a lot, and it was really hard for him to get off the ground. Your experience is almost the opposite. Once you got focused you got really good really fast. Your tournament record shows that from the first time you started competing you did very well. What types of things did Felipe offer you in terms of advice and guidance when you started that helped you move forward in your own jiu-jitu.

Caio

He always gave me advice. We still, for example for this World’s, he came here two or three weeks before so we could train together. We were sharing positions and he was also giving us knowledge about his competition. He’s a very smart guy you know. He plays a lot on the strategy and that’s what I learn with him to play with the strategy too. All my matches go more on the submission. I almost won all of them by submitting. Lately the fights that I haven’t been submitting [opponent], I end up losing by referee.

InsideBJJ

How do you think the referees and scoring could be improved so when get to a situation where there is a tie, you can have an honest outcome.

Caio

I believe you should have replay. The ref should call for a replay after the match. I know when I made the points or not. My opponents knows too. The only person that doesn’t know is the judge. The moment they point to me, even if the ref didn’t give the points, I will know that I should have scored you know or he would have scored on me. I would know that I’m losing. If he calls a replay at the end of the match, I would already know if I should lose if he [opponent] should of scored but the ref didn’t give him the points.

InsideBJJ

You’ve had so many matches against Bruno Malficine. You faced him in your very first tournament [as a blue belt]. You beat him in the tournament [World’s] in 2008 on your way to winning the championship. You faced him 2009 and 2010. In 2009, you had a triangle at the end of the match and he waited it out until the time expired. You mentioned that if you don’t get the submission you end up losing the match by referee’s decision. How will you change your approach in future matches? Will this make you more aggressive to go for the submission?

Caio

I never fight to win on the points. I always fight to win on the submission. I always get the submissions. In the finals, the guys are also aware of that. Normally, in the finals the guys don’t want to get submitted either and I’m fighting another black belt that is also experienced. It’s kind of hard to submit them. Bruno Malficine in the year that I fought him, after the first time we fought at blue belt, I never fought him again until 2008. He was expecting to beat me since I just got my black belt. He tried to tap me out. That was his mistake. I ended up mounting and taking his back many times you know. I end up submitting him too. In 2009, he came to fight with me to beat me by points. What I didn’t like was the fact that he was in the rear naked choke and we rolled out of the mats and that would be the two points that he got. The problem is that the judged stopped and put us in the middle, and he wasn’t in the rear naked choke anymore. They couldn’t give him the two points. If they didn’t give him the two points for him in the rear naked choke cause he let it go, I could have won because I could have swept him on the triangle in the end of the match. He was totally out of bounds but I end up trying to tap him out because he also had three advantages.

Caio [At this point, we had a break in the conversation and Caio re-answered the question]

No, my strategy is to always try to submit the guy unless I’m fighting someone much bigger than me. I still go to the submission but I go more carefully. Guys my weight I will always try to go to the submission. I just can’t go more aggressive because I always go as aggressive as I can. I think I could’ve gone a little more aggressive in the beginning against him [Bruno]. But I thought he would loosen up – you know loosen up a little bit you know and try some stuff but he just hold me the whole time there. He didn’t actually try anything but just holding the whole time and stalling and then telling people I was stalling. I was the one trying to fight the whole time and he was the one who was holding my head.

InsideBJJ

A couple of weeks ago Xande Ribeiro posted on his personal website about the 50/50 guard, stalling and a lot of guys playing for points and stalling out the rest of the match. His opinion was that aspect of jiu-jitus needed to change and more guys needed to be more aggressive. Would you say you agree with him in that sense?

Caio

No, because I think everyone needs a chance to win and not everyone can fight like Xande. That’s why people like him because he goes for the submission. There are people who are not that talented and they need to win with strategy you know. That’s why I think the way things are right now give more people a chance for a lot of people to win. I think if Xande won this time against Bernardo [Faria]. I think he might not say that. He would not say that. Yeah, it is true people are playing for advantage. But that’s the jiu-jitsu sport. That’s not the jiu-jitsu martial arts. Jiu-jitsu martial arts is not what people are learning at the academies right now. People are learning jiu-jitsu sport. Jiu-jitsu has different parts. You get to learn all the submissions and everything. You don’t have to learn the self defense any more or the things they first learned when they started. People are learning the advantage system.

InsideBJJ

You train with the Cesar Gracie academy, and there’s a lot of really high level fighters and grapplers that are associated with Cesar like Dave Terrell, Jake Shields, Nick Diaz and Nathan Diaz. Most of these guys are fighters, but they have a really high level of jiu-jitsu as well. Can you comment on that? Are there things you have shared with them or they have shared with you? Do you get to train with these guys on a regular basis? How would these guys do if they only competed in jiu-jitsu competitions?

Caio

Nick would be very good. He’s a very good black belt. He and Nate would good. They train a lot in the gi. Of course if they only trained in the gi, they would be very very good. I don’t want to say how they would do amazing and it end up not happening. It’s not just us there’s a lot of good people too.

InsideBJJ

Do you get to train with Dave Terrell or Jake Shields?

Caio

I actually never train with Dave. I always train with Nick, Gilbert [Melendez], Jake and Nate.

InsideBJJ

Do you think on average, it seems like in the United States it takes from 8 to 12 years to get a black belt. Is that the standard time in Brazil or do they go through the system faster?

Caio

In Brazil, it’s the same thing. If you train as much as the American’s train, yes, they will get black belts in twenty years. Most of the American’s here that train, they train for twice a week for one hour a day. In Brazil, people that pay the gym because it’s the same prices $150 – you pay 150 Reais and Brazilian people don’t have 150 Reais. So when they pay 150 Reais they want to show up everyday so they don’t waste money. So they want to show up everyday and all the time and the more they can you know. So that’s why they get so good because they don’t want to waste their money. And here it’s like, “OK I’m gonna do another sport. I just want to sweat.” But the people that want to focus in America, they’re getting very good, very very good. You can see a lot of Americans doing very good at the World’s right now, way more than before the World’s came to America. I think that made more people focus here.

Note:

There were a couple of interruptions during the interview and a portion of the audio was corrupted. The portion of the interview in question was left out of this article.