Jiu-jitsu world champion Felipe Pena retired from gi competition after claiming his first absolute title, at the 2021 IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu World Championships, and is now looking to move to MMA.
‘Preguica’ took down the title after his finals opponent Nicholas Meregali got disqualified from the competition, for unsportsmanlike conduct, during his match with Victor Hugo.
The Brazilian has been planning a move to MMA for some time, and the recent successful transition of another absolute champion, Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida, has inspired him.
“I’m moved by challenges. I feel like when I was a blue belt, I was already dreaming about one day being an absolute champion in the black belt division.
“I’m already looking for a boxing and muay Thai coach here in Minas Gerais. Seeing former opponents like Buchecha doing great just motivates me.”
Pena plans to fight a light heavyweight but wants to settle the score with Gordon Ryan at ADCC before transitioning.
“I’ve got the world absolute gold this year, my goal is get my second absolute gold at ADCC next September, something that no one achieved yet, and move 100% to do MMA.”
“I have nothing against selling fights with trash talk, but Gordon just pisses me off, because he lies a lot on the internet, saying everybody is afraid of facing him,” Pena said. “Myself, Kaynan (Duarte), Hulk (Lucas Barbosa) we are doing everything to fight him.
“I defeated him twice. First via rear-naked choke in a no-limit grappling fight in 2016 and again in the finals of the ADCC absolute division in 2017 where I also took his back. If I had a few minutes more I would have submitted him once again. So how can I be afraid of him? It makes no sense.”
It’s unlikely Pena will face Ryan at ADCC 2022, as they will be fighting in different weight classes, but he would like to be a backup for the superfight and face either Ryan or Andre Galvao.
“I already faced Galvao five times, it´s 3-2 for him, and I also would love to face him again. Finishing my grappling history facing Galvao or Ryan would be like a dream.”
Pena has an idea of where he wants to train, acknowledging he will need to move to America to reach his potential.
“I’m sure that to reach a high level in this sport I need to train with the best, so of course I´m planning to leave my hometown, Belo Horizonte, to the United States.
“I’m close to Buchecha, so ATT in Florida would be a great option, but I´m also a good friend of Neiman Gracie and Romulo Barral, who works with Rafael Cordeiro at Kings MMA. So, any of those two options would be great.”