Nobody has extra jiu-jitsu world titles than Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida, and all this most likely wouldn’t have occurred if the grappling legend had received the 2015 World IBJJF Championship.

Buchecha was trying to seize his fourth absolute gold medal — and eighth total title — at that 12 months’s Worlds after which make his transition to combined martial arts. The grappler additionally had an ADCC title underneath his belt on the time, and would immediately develop into one of many hottest blue-chip prospects ever in MMA.

The Checkmat expertise was altering his model on the mat, working extra on guillotine chokes and wrestling strategies to organize for an eventual transfer to cages. Nonetheless, a quarterfinal match modified his plans endlessly when he tore his left knee PCL, LCL, and MCL in opposition to Ricardo Evangelista.

“If I had received that 12 months I’d have 4 absolute titles, eight world titles, and wasn’t that motivated to struggle jiu-jitsu anymore,” Almeida instructed MMA Combating. “I bear in mind there was an ADCC that 12 months, I used to be focusing extra on no-gi tournaments and deliberate on migrating to MMA, however my plans modified fully with that harm.”

Buchecha blew his knee defending a sweep try by Evangelista, and blew his profession plans within the course of.

“I used to be misplaced, I didn’t know what to do. My plans went down the drain,” he stated. “That sort of made me reborn for the game, it gave me energy. It’s not that I wished to compete (in jiu-jitsu) once more, however my plan was to compete once more on the Worlds and depart the gymnasium on foot as an alternative of on a stretcher, in an ambulance.”

Almeida had knee surgical procedure weeks later, and medical doctors anticipated him to have the ability to compete once more in 12 months after an extended bodily remedy course of. The 2016 Worlds was 10 months away, although, so Buchecha determined to rush issues up.

It was all value it.

Buchecha received double gold (weight and absolute) in 2016. And once more in 2017. One title extra in 2018 adopted by one other pair in 2019 put him within the file books as a 13-time jiu-jitsu world champion as a black belt, extra titles than Roger Gracie (10), Bruno Malfacine (10) and Rodolfo Vieira (5).

“The harm wasn’t one thing I wished in my life, nevertheless it was the perfect factor that ever occurred in my profession,” stated Almeida, who received his second ADCC gold in 2017. “I received seven world titles after that harm… I ended up successful extra titles after the harm than earlier than. I did one thing I by no means thought can be attainable, to interrupt all information. This harm actually helped me as a result of in any other case I wouldn’t have all this motivation to maintain combating for thus lengthy.”

The jiu-jitsu legend stored discussing a attainable transfer to MMA all these years whereas studying new strategies at AKA with former champions Daniel Cormier, Cain Velasquez and Luke Rockhold. At age 30, the clock is ticking.

“If I’ve to strive one thing new, that is the time,” Almeida stated. “That is one thing I nonetheless take into consideration quite a bit. As a fighter, I need to check myself and get out of my consolation zone. An actual fighter has to struggle with the gi, no-gi, and check himself in MMA as nicely. I’ve all the time defended that (thought) and I can’t go in opposition to my very own thought. That is one thing I wanna do. I don’t know when, however it will likely be pure. No rush, no dates. I nonetheless take into consideration that quite a bit.”

With the sports activities world on pause throughout a worldwide well being disaster as a result of coronavirus pandemic, Buchecha feels “there’s no higher time than this to study one thing new.”

“I had enjoyable studying. I loved it quite a bit,” he stated of his first expertise coaching MMA at AKA. “I nonetheless know nothing, in fact, so the whole lot is a studying expertise. After they got here onerous at me I may really feel what it was for actual. It was cool. I’m slowly coming again now.”

Rodolfo Vieira, Antonio Carlos Junior and Kron Gracie, who shared the mats with Buchecha again within the day, are full-time UFC fighters now. Almeida watches them compete within the eight-sided cage and will get impressed by it, nevertheless it’s “too quickly” to set a purpose in a sport he hasn’t formally competed in but.

“I wanna check myself, and all of it is dependent upon the way it goes, if I prefer it or not,” he stated. “It’s too quickly to speak about objectives. Nevertheless it’s like in my jiu-jitsu profession: after I was a blue belt, my purpose was to develop into a blue belt world champion. After which as a purple belt. I need to study after which check myself. I could make larger plans after that.”