Xande beats Braga Neto in the absolute. Photo: Ivan Trindade
Besides Roger Gracie, another who could have reached a third absolute world title in Jiu-Jitsu was Alexandre Ribeiro. The Gracie Humaitá black belt and teacher at University of Jiu-Jitsu is a favorite in whatever competition he may enter. This time, though, Xande didn’t make it to the gold medal. He came in second in the heavyweight division and third in the absolute. In the semifinal of the most significant of divisions he saw his shot at a third title shattered by dropping a close match to Rômulo Barral by 3 to 2 in advantage points. The fighter comments on his participation in the competition to GRACIEMAG.com.
What’s your assessment of your participation in the World Championship? Did your time spent dedicated to MMA and away from competition Jiu-Jitsu hinder you?
It was a really cool competition. For sure having been a few years out of the circuit set me back a lot, but I trained for it and did my best. Sometimes the lack of rhythm, positional timing, gets in the way. But I feel it was a good championship. I hadn’t competed in Jiu-Jitsu in two years and I went out there and had eight matches, with three submissions and another three solid victories. I only lost on due to minor details and feel I had a good appearance. Of course, I wanted to be the champ, but things don’t always work out the way we want them to. I think I showed that I can still fight on even terms with the kids.
Now will you focus only on MMA or will we see you in the Worlds and ADCC tournaments again?
Truth is I don’t think about it. What I want to do is train. Now I have a no-gi competition coming up, World Best Grappler, which will take place end of June. It will be cool: there will be six matches against a really tough bunch. It will serve as preparation for my upcoming challenges. I’m going to focus on that and I’m trying to ink an MMA fight. Now I’m going to focus on my boxing, but what I want is to evolve and always train in the gi. I’ll leave deciding about the Jiu-Jitsu Worlds till next year. Whether I compete or not will depend on the situation then.
Takedowns are always one of Xande’s strong points. Photo: Ivan Trindade
Roger’s results speak for him” Xande Ribeiro
Roger Gracie managed a third absolute title. What do you think of him?
There’s nothing to say about Roger. His Jiu-Jitsu is simple and progressive; he fights well for ten minutes and has overcome a bunch of people. I’m unhappy about not having faced him because I open the game up and he does too, and we always have great matches. He’s to be congratulated. I had eight matches and unfortunately there was no final with Rômulo Barral (Barral was injured). He showed he’s among the best, has been in all the finals since 2001, as a purple, brown and black belt. He’s won his weight group many times… There’s nothing to say. His results speak for him.
I enjoyed Rodrigo Cavaca and Tarsis Humphreys’s matches a lot” Xande Ribeiro
Xande lost to Barral in an evenly-matched bout. Photo: Ivan Trindade
Is there any other fighter who impressed you at the event?
I fell everyone is to be congratulated for having tried to evolve and invent new things. I only have a few complaints as to the rules. There are a lot of guys out there these days that fight to just get one point or advantage. It’s a criticism to promote. I feel folks should go for the finish more. But there were a lot of exciting matches at the event, it was well organized and all I have is that one positive criticism. I feel the rules need to evolve and the fighters need to show more. I enjoyed the matches of Rodrigo Cavaca and Tarsis Humphreys, who managed his first world title. Tarsis told me he has been trying ever since blue belt and the gold never came. He did away with that taboo. I feel this new gang Cavaca and Tarsis are to be congratulated.