Combat sports legend Marcus Almeida, better known as “Buchecha,” is competing in MMA. He was officially signed by ONE championship.
Over the past decade, Buchecha has racked up medals in Abu Dhabi Combat Club World Championship and International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation World Championship.
Now Buchecha is focused on conquering a new sport in MMA.
“Of course, always when I fight it’s going to be challenging, and people are always going after me, I have a big target on my back. … But now I feel I have this [motivation] for MMA because it’s something new for me, it’s a new sport, so that motivation starts from zero again. I don’t have anything more to prove in jiu-jitsu, but I’m not retired, because jiu-jitsu is something that I did my whole life. If maybe I feel like I’m missing it, I want to fight a fight, I’m not saying that I hang up my gi. But that’s not my focus anymore right now.”
Buchecha recalls the time he first gained interest in MMA.
“In 2013 was the first time I went to (the American Kickboxing Academy) to train wrestling and train with the guys. After that I really liked it. I started going more and more, that’s how I got closer to (Daniel Cormier), Cain Velasquez, Luke Rockhold, and Javier Mendez, and all the other guys. After that, as much as I can, I go to AKA—even before I decided to go to MMA—to train a little bit of wrestling, train something different.”
“It’s a new world for me,” Buchecha said. “It’s of course different from jiu-jitsu because that’s something that I’ve been doing my whole life. Competition is always something I want to do, but it’s a new world, it’s a new sport. I need to learn striking, my striking’s not good yet. My wrestling needs to get better. Even the jiu-jitsu, it’s a different game, it’s not going to be the same game so I need to fix that.
“The end of 2020 or the beginning of 2021 will be plenty of time. I won’t be ready for a big challenge, but it’s a beginning, so I think I’ll be prepared to do the debut and just like in jiu-jitsu, after the fight, ‘Okay, I need to get better at this, I need to get better at that.’ I think this is a good window to start and then from there I will see if I have to change this, if I have to change that, then I need to fix this thing, I need to learn this more. It’s always an endless pursuit of learning and getting better. That’s how I see it.”
Buchecha isn’t worried about the pressure to follow in the footsteps of the Gracie’s to become a two-sport champion.
“My goal right now is the debut,” Buchecha said. “When I was younger, when I was a blue belt, people would ask, ‘What’s your dream? Is it to be a black belt world champion?’ I would say, ‘No, my dream is to be a blue belt world champion.’
“That’s my dream right now. My focus right now is 100 percent on the debut and after that if I do a good fight, I want to fight right away. If I see that I need to fix mistakes and need to learn more of the game then I’m going to take a while, but my goal is to fight as much as I can as fast as I can.”