The ADCC World Championship is a prestigious tournament that brings together the top elite talents of Submission Grappling, all battling for the title of best in the world. The upcoming 2019 edition features a pool of veteran competitors, former champions and new tournament prospects. Making his debut at the 2019 ADCC is Ben Dyson. Chasing the goal since his start in BJJ, Dyson earned his entry into the championships tournament by winning the ADCC European Trials event, in the 88 kg division.
From the reflection to the anticipation, Dyson shares his story with us at MYMMANEWS, as he embarks on the road to competing at 2019 ADCC World Championship.
Reflecting on your initial start in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu, did you ever think you would be where you are today on the verge of competing at ADCC?
Ben Dyson: “Initially no, I didn’t! I began training with the initial interest being in competing in MMA. It didn’t take me long to become aware of the main competitions and promotions within grappling/ MMA, so I become aware of the ‘Olympics of grappling’ ADCC, early on.”
Cruising through your journey, how did you develop goals such as the one you are embarking on now?
Ben Dyson: “From becoming aware of ADCC early in my journey, it was pretty soon after that, it became a goal of mine to compete there alongside the best in the world. The more I trained, the more I traveled around training with different people, the more competitions I entered, the more success I had. So, I guess the goal of ADCC qualification developed naturally. I always leaned towards no-gi competition because it was much more similar to MMA, despite regularly training in the gi.
“And of course, nobody can argue against the ADCC world championships being the pinnacle of the sport, encompassing all aspects of grappling.”
You have competed at the ADCC Trials before, failing in your attempt to gain entry to compete at the ADCC Championships. How does Ben Dyson deal with failure, but continue to stay motivated toward achieving his goals?
Ben Dyson: “Losing is so hard, for many reasons. As any competitor that competes at the trials tournaments will confirm, you give up your time, finances, put a strain on your body, travel, and probably cut weight. Probably have to take time from your job, friends, and family. If you’re in the 97-99% that loses on the day, it makes you question why you do it! It certainly did for me in my failed attempts.
“But for me, that pain of losing goes away, and the desire to get better usually comes back stronger. Nobody can win all the time in this sport. So, I’d say most grapplers that compete regularly deal pretty well with failure and will get back on the horse, despite its initial pain!”
Earlier this year you competed at the European ADCC Trials, becoming the 88 kg trials champion. What do you feel was different about that version of Ben Dyson that allowed you to obtain victory?
Ben Dyson: “Oh, wow, quite a few things were different. I have settled recently in Vancouver, Canada. I found some great people who are also my training partners (Mike Crisp @Lions MMA and Filip Matos @ Roll Academy). Being happy and being around fantastic people that I love training with probably helped me the most. Lord knows it wasn’t the 24 hour, 3 flight trip from Vancouver to Poznan (Poland).
“I also now have experience of training with the best in the world, during my time in California; training at Atos HQ with people like Andre Galvao, Lucas Barbosa, Keenan, and Josh Hinger, as well as with the guys at 10th Planet Oceanside, under Geo Martinez. So I feel like I know the level I’m at in comparison to the people at the very top of the mountain.”
“Also, at the last trials, I had spent the whole day before the tournament, as I was working for a friend’s construction company carrying soundproof plasterboard up five stories of stairs. So preparation probably wasn’t what it could have been!”
What did winning the trials do for you on a personal level, especially after your previous failed attempts?
Ben Dyson: I feel like most of all, it gave me validation. I had earned my place to be among the best in the world. To be considered in the same sentence as the people in my bracket, it’s given me confidence that I belong there, and I am capable of causing an upset or two.
Training for athlete varies. What has changed in your preparation for the ADCC, as opposed to your regular training routine?
Ben Dyson: “In preparation for this ADCC, I’m doing at least two live sessions a day. Also, I’m traveling further afield and seeking out the best people around to help me. I’ve been focusing more on my wrestling, as this is an essential skill in ADCC. I’m lucky to have some very handy wrestlers as training partners. I’ve also added extra conditioning sessions, of which I’m doing four per week on top of the regular training. I’ve been receiving help from a powerlifting coach also. I feel like I’m getting stronger by the day.”
As a newcomer to the tournament, you will be in a division amongst some accomplished elite grapplers in the world in a stacked 88 kg division. How does Ben Dyson standout amongst his competitors?
Ben Dyson: “Stand out? I’m not sure I do! Yes, with some big names in there I’m hoping it will allow me to slip under the radar and perhaps get taken lightly. But on my day, I know I can be a problem for anyone, especially at 88kgs. Also, I’ve trained with a few of the guys in my bracket. They have the benefit of maybe knowing my strengths. But at this level, I feel it’s who can put it together on the day.”
Is there a competitor you hope to test your skills against at the tournament?
Ben Dyson: “I wouldn’t like to say there is anyone in particular. Everyone is there for a reason because they deserve to be. So every single minute of each match, I’ll need to be at my best to have any chance of progressing in the tournament.”
Finally, what would be coming ADCC champion mean to Ben Dyson?
Ben Dyson: “The world! But honestly, I’m heading there and taking one match at a time. I’m not thinking about winning the entire tournament. I want to focus on beating whoever is in front of me and just trying to make my training partners, friends, and family proud.”