Interview: Alliance fighter, Rodrigo Damm

The Alliance fighter and Brazilian wrestler Rodrigo Damm is the most famous champion of traditional submission events in Brazil.The Alliance fighter and Brazilian wrestler Rodrigo Damm is the most famous champion of traditional submission events in Brazil. If you already took a look on the articles about SJ da Barra Submission Wrestling and Submission Wrestling de Campos, you will certainly read Damm’s name coming across like the winner in 7 opportunities. So a guy with this curriculum couldn’t be far of OTM’s interviews. We caught him up to see what this superb fighter has to say. Check also a pictorial of the best Damm’s moment in submission and BJJ. DENIS MARTINS: You’re known as a superb wrestler, when did you start your Martial Art’s contact at Wrestling?

Rodrigo Damm: No, I don’t. I started at BJJ in the age of 16 years old, and then I moved to submission and around 4 years ago I started practicing wrestling.

DM: How did you first contact with BJJ?

RD: It was through my sister, Carina Damm. She started her BJJ sessions and then I started 1 month later. She stopped during a period and I kept going.

DM: Who gave you the black-belt?

RD: My master Pedro Andrade from Alliance team and my all prior belts were given by him to me. He was student from Eduardo “Jamelao” Conceicao (Pan American BJJ champion) in that period, and all of us were students of Fabio Gurgel. I trained and competed for 6 years to reach the black-belt.

DM: Tell us your main titles in BJJ and Wrestling?

RD: In BJJ I was Mundial champion, 2x Brasileiro champion, 5x times State Of Espirito Santo champion among others. In Wrestling I conquered the National title 4 times. I thank to GOD and my family for their support, they’re my base for everything in my life. My wife Betina, my two kids and my sister and parents are very important in my life.

DM: You won a lot of times the SJ da Barra Submission Wrestling and the Submission Wrestling de Campos tournaments. Why do you think you got to fit your game so well into these two competitions?

RD: The rules are good to my style and I love to fight without gi. So it was a nice combination to perform very well on these both tournaments.

DM: Between these two tournaments you have 7 titles. Which one was the hardest?

RD: I think that last one; it was in 2006. It was the most important without a doubt.

DM: And the toughest opponent?

RD: I fought against Delson Pe-de-Chumbo (IFL veteran) this year, he’s very strong fighter and a tough opponent. Also I competed against Antoine Jaoude (Athens Olympic Games participant) in same weekend at that opportunity, and he’s extremely strong fighter.

DM: Both of these fights(against Jaoude and Pe-de-Chumbo) were at Absolute. What did these challenges add to you?

RD: Experience [laughs]. I had to trade strength against them at an absolute competition. The opportunity of fighting against these styles of competitors is something special for a fighter career, because they’re at the top. And even though we’re friends, we fought frankly.

DM: Different from last time when you fought under 66kgs, this year you fought between the 75kgs fighters. Why did you decide to try that?

RD: I suffered a lot to reach 66kgs, I fought at this category a bit weak, and in my opinion I didn’t render what I could do. DM: Any problems on fighting at 75kgs?

RD: My adaptation was better than I expected to. And like a test, this was really good, because I could face other kind of fighters. I played a bit different than when I fought at 66kgs division.

DM: So you didn’t have problems, can you tell us the main advantages of being at 75kgs?

RD: I can eat without any worrying of gain much weight, I can be strongest than I did in 66kgs and my income in tournaments is more profitable.

DM: You fought at the last ADCC Brazilian Trials. How do you analyze your performance at that competition?

RD: I think I did well. I was a bid weak due to the weight problem of fighting -65.9kgs. This was my first time, I liked. DM: Leonardo Vieira won ADCC 2005 and Wagnney Fabiano won the Brazilian Trials. What’s your opinion about them?

RD: Excellent and technical athletes.

DM: If you have a chance, will you fight in 76.9kgs division in next Trials?

RD: Yes, lets see how I’ll perform with my whole condition on the verge.

DM: What about the MMA, why did you fight only twice?

RD: I still didn’t have much time to dedicate myself for this kind of training (the MMA training) due to my trainings for Wrestling competitions.

DM: Your first MMA opportunity was at SHOOTO Brazil 4. How do see that fight?

RD: I fought against a fighter who already had fought in Japan and he’s tough. I think I fought very well and I only lost to him by majority decision, a balanced match in that opportunity.

DM: You fought MMA last year and we didn’t hear much about it. What can you describe?

RD: The second fight was in July of 2005 and I submitted a guy in an event title Night of Fighter under 3 minutes by arm-triangle, so I’m 1-1 at MMA.

DM: Is there any possibility of you fight MMA still this year?

RD: I hope, we’re expecting good contacts in this second semester of 2006, and I’m already training for a probably fight in Japan at July 21th. DM: Would you fight at 170lbs category?

RD: No doubts!

DM: And would you like to fight against anyone?

RD: Yes, I’d like to fight against Takanori Gomi and Milton Vieira, because I think they’re real fighters and they’ve a technical high-level. I like to take this kind of challenges. Also, I’d like to fight against BJJ coach of ChuteBoxe, Cristiano Marcelo. Do you think he’d accept?

DM: Marcelo? Well, so did you’ve personal problems with him? RD: I prefer to not comment more about it, our (my sister and mine) permanence in ChuteBoxe Academy is part of our past. A fighter needs to prove he’s good and knows what he does, because of it I want to fight Marcelo. But I don’t know if he’ll accept…

DM: Did you take any good experience from your permanence at ChuteBoxe Academy?

RD: Well, this was an experience and every experience we learn some thing. I don’t have many things to talk to you about the trainings there, because I stayed there only a few days. But MMA is MMA in any place, and the trainings too. For me there is not the best- one day you win and stay on the top; other day you lose. This happens all the time, the only thing that doesn’t change is the character and the dignity of a man. DM: Did you train with Wanderley Silva or Mauricio “Shogun” Rua?

RD: I didn’t. I watched their training sessions and I realized they’re really good-fighters, real champions! DM: What do you think about the fact your sister is a MMA fighter too?

RD: She was always a fighter, but when she told me she wanted to dedicate to the MMA, well- I didn’t accept it very-well. We didn’t know this game very well, but even so I supported her since her beginning and I’m proud of the warrior that she is.

DM: What do you think about the ladies fighting MMA?

RD: I like and I admire the girls and their ‘eye of tiger’ in the matches I had opportunity of watching.

DM: Plans for 2006?

RD: Keep myself walking along with GOD and my family always in my career. I want to conquer the Pan Arm of Wrestling, the Mundials and Copa do Mundo of BJJ and to fight MMA in Japan, am I asking too much? [laughs] And of course fight ADCC.

DM: Sponsor to thanks?

RD: No Gi and Nutre Center.

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Denis Martins