Interview by: John Villarreal
On August 18th, 2010, the MMA Carnival known as Strikeforce stopped by our quaint little Metropolis to give us a very memorable evening in the sport that we all love. To some, like my new Twitter buddy King Mo Lawal and famed Black House Manager, Ed Soares just another day at the office. For others, it was their first chance on the national stage.
For one man, it was his chance to get back to the dance. Vinicius “Draculino” Magalhaes is probably better at jiu-jitsu than all of us reading this combined. He’s a local legend who owns Gracie Barra Houston (Webster, TX), a national champion practitioner and also boasts a short MMA career. His last fight was over 5 years ago in Brazil. So why after all these accomplishments does a 39-year old teacher and school owner want to get back in the ring? Well, I had the chance to find out why with the man I call Drac.
Texas Fighting: First off Drac, what made you want to get back into the ring/cage after 5 years? Was your family for it? How big a role did they have in your return?
Draculino: I felt the itch again, and in my guts I knew that I am not done and could still perform at a high level. My family was concerned because I hurt my neck in training, but when I said I would do it anyway they gave me 100% support. They mean everything to me.
Texas Fighting: Who made the call to offer you the fight?
Draculino: Saul Soliz representing Strikeforce
Texas Fighting: Are you leaving the door open for a return?
Draculino: Sure! The Old Draculino is back! I just have to focus on a couple of really important things to get done this year and then I will be back.
Texas Fighting: You’ve got the reputation of being one of the all-time nice guys in our sport. Did that ever make your opponents take you lightly?
Draculino: I can be the nicest guy in the world but I also can be pretty mean and aggressive. Inside the cage or ring, I try to do my job. If my opponent acts like a jerk, I would love to hurt him. If not, just enough to win.
Texas Fighting: What did you change about your training regimen for this fight in comparison to the last?
Draculino: Same thing, almost no change whatsoever. I just trained smarter this time. Avoiding injury was a top priority.
Texas Fighting: Were you at the level you wanted to be at with your boxing when it came time to step in the cage at Strikeforce?
Draculino: A lot of people think that I am just a BJJ guy. They are right! But I can strike also. Lots of people were commenting that they were surprised with my game on the feet and even said that I looked better than my opponent in this area. I have great striking coaches and training partners. I wanna say thanks to Kristen, Frank Adame, Pedrao, Angel Huerta, Cezario and Master Olimpio. I fit my striking game into my BJJ game very well.
Texas Fighting: You got to prepare with Frankie Edgar for this fight. Did Frankie ever sting you with a big punch in your preparation for this fight?
Draculino: Frankie is an amazing fighter, respectful person and a hell of a fighter! We trained more on the grappling side and thank God he did not hit me hard! He proved to the world that he is the best lightweight.
Texas Fighting: What is a more gratifying feat for you? Winning an MMA Fight or Winning the Brazilian National Championship in Jiu-Jitsu? Which is harder to win?
Draculino: A lot of people don’t know but winning a high level BJJ competition as a black belt is one of the hardest things in the world. For me a win is just as gratifying in BJJ or MMA. Same thing.
Texas Fighting: How did your students at Gracie Barra Houston (Webster) get you ready for this fight?
Draculino: They are great! I am blessed with such a wonderful group of students. I trained with my students for Houston and Belo Horizonte in Brazil. They pushed me a lot and helped me so much with everything. I have to mention Greg Bellomy that trained with me every single day. He helped me a bunch with my wrestling and was my main sparring partner here in Texas. He will makes waves in MMA. He is 4-0 as an amateur and 1-0 as a pro. Just a great guy!
Texas Fighting: In your opinion, who is the best jiu-jitsu/jujutsu practitioner signed to a major fight organization?
Draculino: Renzo Gracie with the UFC. He is a legend, master and friend. The man knows more NOGI BJJ in the world than anyone and is also the toughest man alive, EASY!!!
Look for the legend that is Draculino back in a cage near you in early 2011. For the very few in the sport who don’t know Draculino, you are surely missing out. Obviously one of the world’s most prolific BJJ practitioners, decorated all over the world as a Pan-American champion, Brazilian National Champion, Abu-Dhabi Competitor and 4th Degree Black Belt under Carlos Gracie Jr.
Link to Draculino’s Fight at Strikeforce Houston