Jiu-Jitsu coach of Anderson Silva, the Black belt Ramon Lemos, head coach of Atos, was more than pleased with the outcome of the fight between the champion and Chael Sonnen on UFC 117, but knows that the greatest challenge is to move on. On a chat with TATAME, Ramon commented the preparation for the fight against Vitor Belfort, which happens on UFC 126, and revels he was glad to know about Sonnen’s doping. “I was very happy because he was on top of us for 23 minutes, on his best position, and Anderson submitted him, won the fight and kept the belt… Then you see that the guy had used things, so he had better conditioning than a regular athlete… It’s wonderful for us. That proves that Anderson Silva is the best of t he world”, celebrates, talking about the plans for Atos and a lot more.
What did you think of the last win of Anderson, showing a sharp Jiu-Jitsu as he submitted Sonnen after a tough fight?
Man, I believe that everything that happened there was the result of a good training we’ve been doing. We created a full schedule and he would perform each move many times during the day, the conditioning work has been done on Nike’s training center, so all his physical preparation helped him on the abdominal area… He told me: “Ramon, I never thought I’d lose”. Of course it was a tough fight, but you can fool yourself with that crap. It was a very tough fight because the guy came prepared, got to the position he wanted so badly and said he would get, but I think it was fight worthy of a champion. To be honest, sometimes it could sound like bullshit, but Anderson during all the training he did on the United States, said: “I’ll submit this guy”.
You knew about Anderson’s injury. What did you think he should do?
On the day he got injured, two and a half weeks before, he went to the doctor and the doctor told us he really had a rib injury and it’d be hard for him to move quickly, and we had an entire work done. We’d done the promotion of the fight and Anderson had a responsibility as an athlete with the event, which is the greatest one on earth, and with millions of people who’d watch him on the internet and on TV, on pay-per-view, so he felt like he needed to fight. He thought: “How I’d say I won’t fight now? How am I going to set back? I have to go”. His grandma had just died and he came from his grandma’s funeral… There were many things that made him go there, mainly his responsibility as an athlete with the fans. Of course we know it can’t always be like that. He could’ve lost… But that’s our opinion. We couldn’t make the decision for him. We’ve asked him and he said: “I’ll go”, so I told him: “We’re together on this one”< and thanks God everything worked out just fine.
How did you react when you heard about Sonnen’s doping?
I won’t be a hypocrite and say it was sad… I was very happy because he was on top of us for 23 minutes, on his best position, and Anderson submitted him, won the fight and kept the belt… Then you see that the guy had used things, so he had better conditioning than a regular athlete… It’s wonderful for us. That proves that Anderson Silva is the best of t he world, without any doubts.
Did you approve this rematch before he was caught by the doping exam?
I’m in favor of rematches for the fans, the show, the event, the whole media… But, as a professional and athlete, and now as Anderson Silva’s coach on Atos, I consider a rematch a bad thing and it doesn’t worth. Because, if the guy had loss on the judges’ call, it’d be ok. But he stayed for 23 minutes, and that means five rounds, on his best position, which is to takedown and punch from the top, and he couldn’t define the fight, and he lost. There’s no need to know if he had taken extra medicines or not. You can’t have a rematch on those conditions. He has to be punished and stay a year off and then come back for the end of the line and wait for his call to fight Anderson Silva again.
This problem with Sonnen turned out to be a good thing for Vitor Belfort, who now will have this chance against Anderson. How do you see this fight between them?
It’s a fight we’ve all waited for and, on Anderson’s trainings, we’ve talked that he’d be a probable athlete to fight him. I think Anderson’s fought everyone on his division and those he didn’t, was because they weren’t ready to fight Anderson and have a title fight… They have to have an entire story to get to Anderson Silva. Vitor Belfort has been showing it. The fight’s coming and we have to do our best. The training is being set, we’re making a full scheduled here and putting it all on paper. I’ve been talking to Anderson every day, I think that Vitor Belfort has many strong points, but have some weaknesses too, and I think those weaknesses will make him fail on this mission to get Anderson’s belt. I think he’s a top athlete, but Anderson has conditions to beat him and many other who’ll come his way.
Against Sonnen, Anderson had a hard time on the stand up game, something that could worry you on this fight against Belfort. How much did his injury influenced on that matter?
I think his injury manifested loudly on this fight. He entered the octagon with an injured rib. On the dressing room, while he was doing some warm up exercises, you could tell he had an injury because he was always bringing his hand to his rib… He entered the stage wearing a kimono, something you’ve never seen before on Anderson’s career. But when you get there injured, your mind goes shitty, you keep thinking you can’t move, this or that. I wanted, in the future, that Anderson fighting at his best, so that people know Anderson is a monster on the stand up game, on the ground too from the top or on the bottom. He’s an excellent athlete. I noticed he wasn’t the same on the stand-up game from the beginning and I think it was due to his injury. Anderson has no reasons to hide it… We know very well who Anderson Silva is because of all he has done on MMA, he has a huge history. He has over 30 fights on his record and everybody knows what he can do. No one unlearn it all in one fight. So, there’s no such thing like he’s not “the man” anymore. On one fight he unlearned it all… So why did he do all that before? For sure the injury spoke loudly on this fight.
As his Jiu-Jitsu coach, do you think the ground game can be an interesting choice for this fight against Vitor Belfort?
I think Anderson has fast hands, and when the fight begins, our mind is to win the fight. When it comes to Jiu-Jitsu, my intention with Anderson is to qualify his ground game and bring him to a similar level to his stand-up game. We don’t want him to be afraid of the ground game, of standing-up or fighting with a wrestler… What we want is Anderson to have his best performance whatever the fight takes place. But, when the fight begins, just like Jiu-Jitsu and any other martial art, the fight starts with both athletes standing, and then the exchange begins. We know that when Anderson exchanges, he’s a phenomenon. We’ll trade some punches and, if we have to go to the floor, there’re no doubts he can do it. He trains it, but people think he only knows how to hit people with his hands, or feet. It’s the other way around: Anderson Silva is a complete athlete, he does everything any fighter needs to do.
Now, as the responsible for his trainings, will you prefer to do his trainings in Brazil or on the United States?
I’m just one of the responsible for Anderson’s training, and I’m grateful that he had mentioned me that way, but I’m not the only one. There’s Diógenes, who’s his right hand… There’s also Dandan, which is a close friends of ours, and a fundamental piece, ROgério, Distak… If I start pointing out names, there’re many people who are a part of it. Everybody’s on it, so it’s teamwork and we call each other and we’re discussing about setting the right date… There’s nothing set. We’re defining things now… In November we’ll start his training. He’s training, but now like it’ll be in November, when we’ll start a three months work for his fight against Vitor.
With the end of the year coming, what do you think about Atos’ results on 2010?
I’m on a magical moment in my life. I’ve just started my career as a MMA coach, but actually I’m not a MMA coach, I’m just a Jiu-Jitsu coach who works with MMA athletes and I’ve been working with Jiu-Jitsu my whole life. I’m the head coach, along with André Galvão, of Atos. It was a wonderful year … We’ve won two trials to Abu Dhabi, we were champion in all divisions we had athletes on the championship in Abu Dhabi, we had a great result on Brazil, on teams dispute of Brazil’s Championship we got the second position, but there were some mistakes made by the referees with disturbed us a bit… On World, Rafael Mendes won and many other athletes won medals… I think that Atos, in two years, conquest many things and got to the media, to newspapers, magazines and TV shows… It’s a magical moment for Atos. They deserve it, they dedicate 24/7, and I’m very glad and we want more for 2011. The work hasn’t stop, but the guys are ministering seminars, teaching and healing from injuries. In November and December the season starts… In January there’s Europe Championship, then there’re many trials and then Brazil World and we’ll be there.
Many people said that Rafael and Cobrinha would face each other, but then they stopped talking about it. Will this fight happen?
Actually, Rafael got a proposal for this fight and he never denied it, in fact he wanted it badly. But we’re not irresponsible, we have many seminars to be ministered. Each season we have an athlete fighting, but then he’ll minister some seminars, so you can imagine a professional athlete, one of the best of the world, having to minister seminars and quitting it because he’ll fight on an event like this… For him to do that, it has to be worthy. Cobrinha is a very qualified athlete to fight Rafael, you don’t have to say it, we know… For all he’s shown on the black belt category, being world champion four times in a row, but it has to be worthy when it comes to finances too. He has responsibilities. We’ve sent an email asking for a better proposition, and they have never answered us and the media said he had refused to fight the guy, that he wanted more money or something like it. I think it was a mistake the organization made and it sould have been a secret. They didn’t wait for Rafael to agree with the scholarship.
Talking about money, World Pro promises a reward of a million dollars, for both with and with no gi. What are the expectations for this dispute?
What I can tell you is that the athletes should be prepared because we’ll be there, from the white to the black belt. We’re training hard and our focus is this. It’s very important an event like this to make Jiu-Jitsu look better, but the Jiu-Jitsu community in Brazil should also applaud Fepa (Fernando Lopes), here in Sao Paulo, who has been doing a great event, very organized, and it’s getting bigger each year… I bet on Fepa (Fernando Lopes) on this event and I hope that Brazil has an event like that. Maybe it won’t have the same reward that Sheik has, but it has to make athletes live from the sport and, who knows, maybe someday, help on the trainings.
In the end of the year there’ll be this championship of Lopes, World League Pro Jiu-Jitsu, which will have a R$ 100.000 reward. Will you also be on this event?
For sure. We’re professionals and we have to be where the sport is so that our lives make sense. These events give us the money so that we can keep practicing the sport. I want people to understand that when I say it, it’s not like: if there’s money, Atos will be there. Wherever the event is professional… Like World of Jiu-Jitsu, which doesn’t give us any money, but they have a professional level and great athletes on the dispute… We’ll be there. But on the championships that give financial rewards, we have to be there so that we can keep our work and don’t let it fade. I think that it’s the natural course for Jiu-Jitsu: that each competition has a bigger reward than the previous one, just like on the white and blue belts, so that the athlete can keep trainings. The blue belt of today is the black belt of tomorrow. If those people can’t survive on the sport, Jiu-Jitsu will be faded to end in Brazil and we’ll have to go abroad and that’s the big problem. If the root is going down, the essence will die.