Jose Junior says last year’s defeat in the Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship has only fuelled his determination to not only claim gold this month but also finish the season as the top-ranked competitor.
The 31-year-old Abu-Dhabi-based Brazilian goes into this year’s competition, which gets underway on Monday, eager to make amends having fallen short of winning the Open weight title when he lost to his compatriot Felipe Pena.
Since then, he has responded in style this season, winning nine golds, four silvers and four bronzes.
That has put him at the top of the UAE Jiu-Jitsu Federation (UAEJJ) world rankings with a total of 1,750 points. His nearest challenger, Gabriel Arges De Sousa, who he beat at the London leg of the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam last month, sits second with 1,610 points. With a maximum 400 points up for grabs in the season-finale, Junior says he’s raring to make it a double celebration in his adopted homeland.
— UAEJJF (@uaejjf) April 3, 2017
“After I lost the gold last year, the next day I was training to fix my mistakes,” said Jose, who will compete in the 110kg black belt division of the April 10-23 competition.
“It was the third time I got second place and this year I am really motivated and I am not going to let it happen again. Inshallah, I will take first place.
“I have had some great results this year and have been taking part in a lot of competitions in preparation for the World Pros as this is the main tournament of the season for all the athletes.
“I have full trust in my coaching team and training regime. I wouldn’t be able to do this by myself and though it is an individual sport, we need our training partners and colleagues.
“Thankfully, I don’t have any injuries so I feel very confident that I can have a great championship. For sure it is always the best tournament to be part of.”
— Denzil M Pinto (@denz_360) April 3, 2017
Based in the capital as a jiu-jitsu instructor, Junior has seen the sport grow rapidly with thousands of Emiratis competing.
With the UAE national team members including top-ranked Faisal Al Ketbi undergoing an intensive training camp prior to the competition, Junior says the UAEJJF are going in the right direction.
“The UAE team is very good,” he said. “I am doing part of the camp with them and I think they have improved a lot from the past years.
“I believe what they did in eight years, would take 40 or 50 years but still they need to progress more.”
A new addition to this year’s schedule is the Para Jiu-Jitsu event.
UAEJJF officials confirmed that the category has attracted more than 100 competitors from 17
“This edition is going to be the biggest and best yet, not only for the Federation itself but for players and spectators alike,” said Abdulmunem Al Sayed Mohammed Al Hashmi, chairman of the UAEJJF.