Last year ONE Championship announced the signing of two-time ADCC champion and 13-time Jiu Jitsu World Champion, Marcus Almeida, also known as Buchecha.
Since then, the 32-year-old Brazilian BJJ practitioner has gone 2-0 with the promotion, submitting both of his opponents within the first round.
Now, ahead of ONE’s biggest card to date, the promotion’s 10-year-anniversary event known as ONE: X, Buchecha talks about his friendship with ONE flyweight champion Adriano Moraes. Moraes will be defending his title against 27-year-old Japanese fighter Yuya Wakamatsu on March 26.
“I met Adriano as soon as I joined American Top Team almost two years ago, when I started focusing on MMA,” Buchecha said. “Adriano is a guy that everyone loves, who is always laughing, always upbeat. If someone says they don’t like Adriano, I’m sure the problem is the person who doesn’t like him (laughs), because Adriano is a sensational person.
Buchecha states that he was introduced to Moraes by former UFC fighter turned PFL contender, Antônio Carlos Junior “Cara de Sapato”.
“He’s (Moraes) the champion of the event (promotion – ONE Championship) I’m fighting today, and when I got to the gym, I saw about six or seven belts of his there. It was the first time I saw ONE’s belt up close. It got me a lot closer to him, I asked him a lot of questions, he told me how was the event… And he’s also a Jiu-Jitsu black belt, so we also exchange a lot of information after training. He has a lot of good positions and I’m learning a lot from him.”
While Buchecha and Moraes are on complete opposite spectrums when it comes to weight, Buchecha competes at heavyweight, Moraes down at 125-pounds, the two lift each other mentally.
“His attitude and mentality are his most defining characteristics,” Buchecha said of Moraes. “No matter how difficult the situation is, he always tries to remain calm to change the situation. There was a fight in which he got a knockdown, fell practically unconscious and managed to compose himself and finish the fight. This is an example that shows his mental strength. He is not shaken in any situation.”
Last year Moraes sent shockwaves throughout the combat sports world when he defeated former UFC flyweight champion Demetrious Johnson. “Mighty Mouse” Johnson had entered the contest with the status of “flyweight GOAT,” meaning fans believed he was the best to ever compete at 125-pounds.
“When he fought against Demetrious Johnson, he shocked the world, but not us,” Buchecha said. “Anyone who trains with him daily knows his ability, knew he was going to win. Honestly I thought it would be by submission, I didn’t imagine a knockout, and so quickly. My bet was a third round submission. He is an exceptional fighter. I saw him training with Katel Kubis that combination daily in training and he also did it in the warm-up. It was a great job by the team, especially Adriano, who managed to put all the training into practice to put on a perfect fight. In this fight the world saw his ability and the great fighter he is.”