This interview was done RIGHT before Cyborg’s big ADCC trip and massive victory over Marcus “Buchecha” in the finals of the ADCC 2013 Absolute Finals. See the full interview with Cyborg here, and learn about his world travels, new BJJ tricks, and perspective on training like a champion!
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Humble beginning to big 2103 ADCC win for Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu
There are few guys on this earth today as dangerous as the man they call Cyborg. Born Roberto Abreu, the name—both his government & nickname—hold some serious weight in the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu world. A world that many would assume Cyborg was born into…but not quite.
Usually when we think of elite competitors in a given sport, chances are they were born and began playing it right away. Basketball stars began dribbling at an early age, football stars likely were throwing the pig skin around with their dad, and MMA fighters were likely boxing, wrestling, etc. since their early stages of youth.
But what exactly was a dangerous, lethal, multi-time world champion doing at a young age? Swimming.
Not just swimming for fun, but competitive swimming! Yes, Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu just might be the best swimmer to ever step on a mat and compete in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.
What’s even more intriguing was his overall journey to BJJ, and how it took a little, well, persuasion for him to check it out and begin training.
Pick On Somebody Your Own Size!
With his competion days of swimming behind him, Abreu began looking for new outlets to partake in. Like many martial artists, Roberto found new ventures in the form of sports such as Judo and Karate.
Yet and still, this wasn’t enough. With a clear thirst for competition and challenge, it took a slap in the face—or close to it—for him to find the sport he would grow to dominate.
One day, Roberto fondly recalls that a friend of his, one whom was much smaller than he was, challenged him to a fight. “C’mon, man! You’re the size of my leg!” Roberto recalls with a smirk.
After accepting the spure-of-the-moment-fight, Cyborg was ready to squash his tiny-counterpart.
Before long, the future black belt found himself being thrown to the ground and submitted…THREE TIMES! The tiny, pint-size pal of his had mopped the floor with Roberto and did it with ease.
Like most ultra-competitive people would do, you would expect Abreu to throw a fit, right? Wrong. In fact, it’s quite the opposite. After the fight, Abreu recalls in a sit-down talk we had, he looked at his buddy and said “I want to learn this stuff!”
The rest? Well, you could say that’s history.
Idaho Jiu Jitsu
After spending many years in his native Brazil, where he learned the art form, Roberto would soon make his way to America as a foreign exchange student. Where did he land? In the hot bed of BJJ, Idaho!
Living in Idaho, he and his mom would make the drive to Spokane, Washington three times a week where Cyborg would train. After a year in the states, he went back home to Brazil, where he opened his own gym as a purple belt.
Years later, located in Florida, Abreu’s gym—Fight Sports Miami—is now home to 35+ black belts!
Not too shabby for that kid from Campo Grande, Brazil that couldn’t stop swimming.