Marcus Buchecha Almeida joins the heavyweight ranks for ONE Championship. A weight class that features names like number one contender Arjan Bhullar, fellow recent signee Amir Aliakbari, and reigning champion Brandon Vera to name a few. ONE has been beefing up their heavyweight ranks and Almeida’s signing definitely bolsters that weight class even further. The accomplished jiu-jitsu player respects these fighters but his focus is mostly on galvanizing his own skillset as opposed to studying would-be adversaries at this juncture.
“No, of course, I always check the heavyweights. It’s really interesting for me to watch to see how the game is. But that’s not the thing that I really worry right now. I need to worry about myself right and also this it’s hard to think about somebody’s game. That’s how I did my whole life in jiu-jitsu. I never think about the other’s games. Other than my opponent’s games. I try to focus on myself to try to get better. Because that’s what I really need to be worried about out there. When I decide the opponent then it’s time to study my opponent. But not right now.”
Marcus Buchecha Almeida
This MMA debut has been a long-awaited one for many martial arts enthusiasts but if Almeida had his druthers, he would have gotten out on the mats at least one more time before this crossover.
“Yeah, I’ve been thinking I was going to do MMA and transition. This year, I was thinking about doing my last world championship. Because of the pandemic, it didn’t happen. So I decided to hurry up the things because it was supposed to be my last year. I start training little by little, then I started liking it much more than the last times that I was training. So I just decided, you know what, I think it’s time. I think I don’t have anything more to prove in jiu-jitsu.”
The aim to debut in mixed martial arts with this specific promotion has been the goal for a while now. “We made things happen like really fast. I always wanted to fight for ONE. I know Chatri and all the guys from Asia, and I always wanted when I did my debut to be in ONE championship.”
AKA and Evolve MMA
Buchecha has been training for this debut effort at the world-renowned American Kickboxing Academy. His AKA training has been happening for a while now and extended itself through Daniel Cormier’s final camp ahead of the Stipe Miocic trilogy bout. “Helping training with DC for his last fight. It was a great opportunity and great training with them. I used to go there since 2013. So it was great to be back there. To see the last ride of DC and to be part of that. So, it was amazing and I learned a lot.”
Besides learning invaluable lessons at AKA, Evolve MMA in Singapore has been a facility that Buchecha has been plying his trade at too. A gym that Almeida will be spending even more time at as things progress with his preparations. “Not, most of the time, but I will be spending a lot of time there for sure. I want to get my Muay Thai much better. So there’s gonna be a great place for sure to learn with all the champions there.”
Almeida mentioned sharpening his Muay Thai skills at Evolve but he’s also working with Jason Parillo on his boxing too. With more work being done in the standup exchanges, the debut for Almeida is being targeted for late 2020 or early 2021.
The meaning for the nickname Buchecha is one that I found amusing. Phonetically it has a certain robust quality to it but the English translation reveals a playfulness with some teasing underpinning the backstory.
“The translation is like cheeks, like chubby cheeks. When I was 12 years old when I first started jiu-jitsu. People used to call me that. My father told them I used to hate but I never really minded. In Brazil, when you say that you don’t like something like when people call you something and you say you don’t like it. Forget about it. It’s going to stick with you for the rest of your life. But that’s what exactly what happened with me. People don’t even know my name. People think that’s my last name and just stick with me for my whole life I guess.”
There are lots of tough guy, paint by numbers fight monikers out there but his unorthodox nickname is one he digs. Marcus Buchecha Almeida has truly owned his unorthodox nickname in a big way and made it resonate with the public.
Buchecha has an amazing backstory where at 20 years old, he opted to stay in America and chase his dreams of jiu-jitsu greatness. This story that has been unfurling since 2010 has truly been a compelling one. A path that has seen him garner him a world-record-setting amount of medals and world titles.
“It was like, great history, great story. When I was 20 years old. Just got my black belt and I came to a new country. Came to America to try to live off this sport. It was hard in the beginning. I came just like chasing my dream to be a world champion. I didn’t know how things would be. As things started like working out. I started finding a job and I got my first world title in 2012. After that, things just started changing a lot. 10 years later, I became like the guy with the most world titles as a black belt. So I broke the record and went to the Guinness Book.”
Buchecha looks to continue to add more chapters to this already compelling story as he readies for his ONE Championship debut and his inaugural foray into mixed-martial arts, by proxy.