Jair Rodrigues moved to the US at the end of 2016 to lead the jiu-jitsu practices at Power MMA led by Ryan Bader in Arizona. He was the coach responsible for revealing the talent of Renan ‘Barão’ and Claudia Gadelha to the world of MMA. And it is from there that the creator of ‘Kimura Nova União’ initiates the process that can take his students to the next step in the sport.
With access to American structures and facilities, the BJJ technician began a process of opening doors for his team abroad by bringing Barao outside of Brazil. And through the absence of traffic, bureaucracy and other training distractions that large cities such as Rio de Janeiro can cause, he enabled the fighter to commit to training a hundred percent, which will make his return to bantamweight a natural step, according to his coach.
“After arriving in the United States and starting a healthier life, Renan naturally lost about 4 kg in a month”, Rodrigues told AG. Fight. “Today he is a little over 69 kg naturally, without cutting weight, only [through] taking better care. From today until the day of the fight, Renan will have only a little more than 7 kg to cut, [which is] very different from before when he had to lose up to 15 kg.”
With only a handful of friends in the city of Gilbert, near Phoenix, Barao also doesn’t speak English, which makes his training routine not only his profession but his near exclusive focus. And it is with this new focus that Rodrigues intends to get the best out of his student, a former bantamweight champion who had his last two outings in the featherweight division.
“Renan has always been a great fighter, he has always trained a lot in camp and out of camp, but he was not 100% the athlete he is here in the USA. He is set as far as food goes, recovery after training, sleeping and waking at the right times and policing [his days] more in relation to the quantity, intensity and quality of the training, besides having access to a good supplementation and high-level wrestling training. All these factors were crucial in the decision to return to the division in which he already was a champion.”
Admitting that it took some time to become accustomed to the idea of living in another country, Rodrigues approved the commitment of his student who accepted the challenge of going back to the weight class he already has held a belt in. Even if that is going to be a daunting task one way or another.
“I think it was the right decision, yes. Renan is very competitive at featherweight, but we are not in this game to be just another [name]. To be champion again, which is what he wants, he has to make the sacrifices now, because for almost everything we have to pay a price in this life. And he is paying that price today and it will make him champion again.”
With that attitude, Rodrigues is on the same page as Andre Pederneiras, the leader of the highly renowned Nova União team in Rio de Janeiro, who recently told AG. Fight that he wants his students to move out of Brazil and search for greatness in the US.
“’Dedé’ is more than right, and that’s why I’m here. We’re still in the process of adapting, since I came with my wife and children, so it was well pulled from last year. It’s stabilizing, and I’m sure we have a lot of work to do to win here. We already have great MMA and Jiu-Jitsu athletes coming from Natal [, Brazil] and other parts of the world.”