Later today, the World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Expo will be presenting a superbly matched card, with a much talked about superfight headliner. UFC welterweight top contender, Nick Diaz will be competing in the name of children's charity against BJJ super power, Braulio Estima. The matches will be streamed live, and in HD via Mobileblackbelt.tv from the Long Beach Convention Center in CA. I recently interviewed Braulio for TapouT Radio to get his thoughts on his epic match with Diaz, and all the other projects he has in the works.
Stephie Daniels: What's your overall feeling, now that this superfight is almost upon us?
Braulio Estima: I'm very much looking forward to this. It's been too long a wait. I can't wait to just get my feet on the mat, shake his hand and then grab hold of him.
Stephie Daniels: What has your schedule been like?
Braulio Estima: It's been a little bit crazy. I took this fight pretty much at the last minute. I was only supposed to go to the expo to have a free seminar and a signing. Three weeks ago, I was in Florida, training with th Blackzilians, and I spoke to one of the organizers of the expo.They asked me if I'd like to fight Nick Diaz, and I said, 'I would love to fight him. It would be great for exposure for my MMA debut.'
Nick Diaz is a very competitive person, one of the top guys out there. He actually comes from a BJJ background, and has great grappling. I'm doing very good grappling, too. We are the same weight, the same height, and we both fight for the submission. It will be a great fight for the fans.
About six months ago, I had booked a vacation in Thailand, and I couldn't get out of it, so I took advantage of it and also trained out there in Thai boxing and MMA. I was watching my diet, too, so it wasn't as much of a holiday as I expected.
I'm also doing an MTV reality show in the UK, which took a lot of my time, and I'm organizing the BJJ British Open which is going to be on May 19 and 20. It's been pretty crazy, with ups and downs, and traveling here and there, but I'm always doing something for BJJ, which is my lifestyle. Even if I'm not always in training for competition, I'm stiull always training, because that's my work, my hobby, my life.
Stephie Daniels: What's the premise of the MTV show?
Braulio Estima: The episode is for a show called, Made. You guys have it there, in America. Basically, I am the Made coach of a young guy that wants to be a rugby player. I bring him around and give him hard training sessions, some inspirational lessons and coaching, so that he can be prepared to go all the way through to the final match in rugby.
It's kind of funny, and there's some comedy in it. We filmed him doing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for the first time, so we rolled and we had a funny thing happen afterwards. It's been hard to coordinate, because of all my other activities, but I'm very much looking forward to it.
Stephie Daniels: Will you be taking part in the BJJ British Open, or are you just working in an organizer's capacity?
Braulio Estima: I will be doing a demo, on Friday, May 18 at 2 pm. It will be me and my brother doing the demo for about an hour. The competition itself will be on the 19th and 20th and has over 850 competitors. It's the biggest competition in the UK, and I'm very proud to be the organizer of it. My job is to spread jiu jitsu to the world.
Stephie Daniels: The World Jiu-Jitsu Expo and Nick Diaz are donating to St. Jude's Children's Hospital charity. Will you also be donating to that or another charity?
Braulio Estima: I haven't even talked about my purse yet, to be honest. When I get there, the organizers said they're going to sort it out. I am aware of the children's hospital charity, and I am definitely going to be part of it and making a donation. I'm so glad that it's happening, because we get to be part of a great event that's going to help people, and that's really what BJJ is all about.
Stephie Daniels: How do you feel about headlining a card of this magnitude?
Braulio Estima: I'm very, very proud. It's like a dream. When I look back at what I came from and when I started,, and now, here I am, doing all these things.Not many people know that when I started BJJ, my main mentor, Ze Radiola, was only a blue belt, because there were no black belts to train with apart from a three hour trip by airplane from my city. I always grew up seeing top fighters like Mario Sperry and Nino Schembri, who is actually going to be fighting on the same card. Nino is one of my idols. I feel like I have a little bit of a responsibility, and I hope I can fulfill the public's expectations, do well and give the people a good show to watch.
Stephie Daniels: Outside of your serious injury from almost two years ago, what's been the biggest challenge in your career?
Braulio Estima: I think, apart from the injury, it would be trying to reconcile all my work obligations with the high demand for my time. With the success of my achievements, there comes a bunch of things with it. A lot of people request things of you , a lot of fans that suddenly become friends and there's a lot of people that try to take advantage of you.
These kinds of things are very annoying for me to deal with. I'm a very sincere and easy going guy. I guess keeping up with the demand and the business side of it has been hardest for me. Now I have an assistant to help me with all these things, because otherwise, that's not living, at all. I can't imagine how the pop stars do it, because I have just a little piece of recognition, and for me, it's very demanding.
Stephie Daniels: Do you plan to take a little bit of a breather after the British Open, to regain some balance in your life?
Braulio Estima: Last year, I had to work out some passport and visa issues, so I spent one year without leaving the country. After I got my passport back, I got so overloaded with things. I am the kind of guy that always finds it very difficult to say no to things.
After my current obligations, I am definitely going to take a step back and reset my work schedule. I want to focus more on training, because I haven't been training with professional intentions since ADCC. I have so many things to keep up with; the family, the academy, affiliations, seminars, new website project, instructional videos, books, MTV reality show and filming for a documentary.
I'm going to have a meeting instructors and assistant to make a plan and organize myself a little better. In terms of training or competing, I don't want to have a break from that. My plan is to take it a little slower on the business side, because I take on too many things at once. On the training side, I want to go to Florida and spend two months with the Blackzilians to focus on my MMA debut.
Stephie Daniels: How do you feel you and Nick will match up on the mat?
Braulio Estima: I think it's going to be a great match. Nick never goes backwards or runs away. He plays very forward, and I play very forward. This will be a very good fight to watch. I'm not going to go in there and try to over-commit myself. I'm not going to underestimate him. I've learned thoughout my career to never underestimate anyone.
I'm prepared for the best Nick Diaz in grappling. I'm not going to give any space, and I'm going to fight for my position. I'm going to implement my rhythm and try to bring the fight to what I'm good at. I want to always be in a good position where I can keep applying the pressure, so that I can get the victory.
Stephie Daniels: What would be your submission of choice to land in this match?
Braulio Estima: If I could choose a submission, the inverted triangle would be the one I would choose. Just between us, that is the first time I've said that in any interview. I have a book coming out soon about the triangle, so it would be great if I could get the inverted triangle. With all the respect that I have for him, I still want to be the first one to submit Nick Diaz.
Follow Braulio via his Twitter, @BraulioEstima