Photo: Carlos Ozório

When queried about his friendship with Fabrício Werdum, the man responsible for toppling the “Last Emperor”, Mário Reis quickly cuts in:

“I’m still buddies with Werdum and I was there at his fight!”

Mário watched front and center as the black belt submitted his quarry with a snug triangle choke. Meaning more to him than a friend winning, he feels the achievement was a landmark for the gentle art.

“I feel Werdum represented Jiu-Jitsu excellently by having beaten one who is, in my opinion, the greatest MMA fighter of all times. And he did so without throwing a punch or kick, just with pure Jiu-Jitsu,” he says in analysis.

The triumph also serves as fuel for Mario in his upcoming battles. The Gracie Barra Porto Alegre representative will hit the mats at the Rio Open.

“It made me so proud and I believe all Jiu-Jitsu fighters felt that way. It even served as motivation to see the glory of one of my best friends. I feel Werdum is now one of the greatest, if not the greatest representative of Jiu-Jitsu in MMA,” declares the fighter, remembering some of his past as a friend of “Vai Cavalo”.

“We’ve been friends since we were kids and got all our belts together, from white to black, on the same day. We were always teammates and egged each other on, which is why I was there watching his fight,” he says in closing.