Simoes’ first outing in his new sport will come in a middleweight battle with “King Kong Warrior” Fan Rong at ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III, a previously recorded event from the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
Fans can’t wait to see how the Brazilian’s world-class grappling will translate to the Circle. While you wait for the big debut, get a head start on your knowledge of the BJJ legend.
#1 He Grew Up Grappling
View this post on Instagram
Feliz dia das crianças para todos os mini guerreirinhos ???????????????? e todas mini princesinhas ???????????? do Brasil. Aqui estão algumas fotos minhas de #Gordinho com alguns dos meus heróis de infância na arte que faz parte da minha vida desde que eu me lembro como gente.. É só dar o slide na tela para ver todas ⏩#DiaDasCrianças #ChubbySimões #BrazilianKidsDay ???????? #Iwasallaboutdatgainlifeson ????????????#JiuJitsuSavedMyLifeBruh #bjj #jiujitsusince90s @werdum @sylviobehring @galvaobjj @ronaldojacare #MauriçãoEterno e #MarceloGarcia
Simoes first donned a gi at the age of 4 when he began learning judo at school. His father was an avid BJJ practitioner, and the youngster would follow those footsteps into “the gentle art” when he was 9.
Though his dad left the sport as a brown belt, Simoes never quit and pushed himself to even greater heights.
#2 He Stands Among The Greatest In His Generation
View this post on Instagram
I already knew it was hard to become a champion. I didn't become a champion over night. What I didn't know is how much harder it is to stay a champion. Don't ever put yourself down or doubt yourself when someone tells you that you can't do something. Every champion has heard it time after time and decided to not give up. Fight with everything you've got to make your dreams come true, and even if you have to go through hell to make it happen, do it! Because in the end it will be very rewarding. #ADCC #88kg #99kg #WeDream #WeWork #WeMakeItHappen
The 30-year-old Rio de Janeiro native smashed through the competition during his rise through the BJJ ranks and then continued that run when he earned his black belt from Ricardo Vieira in 2011.
Then among the elite competitors, Simoes won gold at the Pan American Championship in the gi. However, his biggest success came in no-gi competition.
In 2014, he claimed gold in his weight class and in the Absolute division at the IBJJF World No-Gi Championship. The Brazilian then repeated that feat in 2016, making him the only two-time Black Belt Absolute No-Gi World Champion in history.
And in 2015, Simoes won the ADCC World Championship, which is the most prestigious submission grappling competition on the planet. He defended his crown in 2017, marking himself as one of the greatest grapplers of his era.
- Lineker Says He’ll Beat Top-Ranked Belingon: ‘No One Can Stop Me’
- How To Watch ONE: INSIDE THE MATRIX III
- Belingon Expects ‘Fireworks’ In Much-Anticipated Clash With Lineker
#3 His Coach Is A Record-Breaking Competitor
It should be no surprise that Simoes has achieved great success given the mentor he’s learned from.
The Brazilian joined the Caio Terra Association in 2013, which accelerated his development as a no-gi competitor.
Terra is a 10-time IBJJF World No-Gi Champion, which makes him the most decorated athlete in the competition’s history. Competing mostly at 55 kilograms, the association’s head coach has the motto, “Technique conquers all,” which helped Simoes become a renowned technician as a much bigger man.
#4 He’s Trained MMA With Khabib, Cormier
Just like in his grappling career, Simoes knew he needed elite coaches and training partners to achieve success in mixed martial arts.
So in 2015, he started training with American Kickboxing Academy in San Jose, California, to prepare for his new venture. At the gym, he worked with some of MMA’s greatest athletes, including former World Champions Daniel Cormier and Khabib Nurmagomedov.
Injuries and a shift in focus postponed his debut in mixed martial arts, but after five years of preparation, Simoes is ready to show off his well-rounded skill set on the global stage.
#5 Signing With ONE Was His Dream
Simoes’ track record as a world-class submission specialist earned him a contract with the world’s largest martial arts organization in 2019 – a move that was always on the Brazilian’s wishlist.
“Signing with ONE was the easiest decision I ever made. If you play football, your dream is to play in the NFL. If you play basketball, your dream is to play in the NBA. If you fight mixed martial arts, your dream is to fight for ONE,” he says.
That dream is now a reality, and the two-time ADCC World Champion wants to begin his ascent toward the middleweight gold in his new sport – and new home – of ONE Championship.