Inspiration can come from a variety of places. For ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano “Mikinho” Moraes (16-2), he attributes his inspiration to many people, and they have all led him to the very top from humble beginnings.
Just a few days old, a baby Adriano was left on the streets of Brasilia, Brazil with no ability to fend for himself. Luckily, he was found and taken to an orphanage, where he would at least have a chance of survival.
After spending the first few years of his life in the orphanage, it was the woman who adopted and loved him as her own that granted him his first opportunity to thrive.
It takes definite altruism and a good heart to take on an orphaned child, and without it, Moraes’ situation could have been very different. The kindness and generosity his mother showed him has been one of the greatest positive influences on his life.
“The person who most inspired me when I was a kid is my mother, because of what she did for me,” the Brazilian reveals. “Showing me unconditional love, and showing me the path to walk to make the best choices in my life.”
With such a tumultuous start to his young life, the direction he was heading could have led him almost anywhere. There will have been many children he spent his formative years around that went the wrong way, simply because they did not get the opportunities and nurturing Moraes was fortunate enough to receive.
Knowing that a person has changed the outcome of your life for the better will compel you to try and do the same; to try and have that same impact on the lives of others by being a better human being.
Now with a solid family unit and a greater foundation upon which to build his own dreams, “Mikinho” was able to enjoy life like any other kid. He was energetic, athletic, and always active, trying his hand at various sports.
From there, his interest in martial arts saw him turn his attention to time on the mats, and it was a pioneering countryman that really pushed him towards martial arts success.
“Royce Gracie introduced Brazilian jiu-jitsu to martial arts, and the beauty of vale tudo in Brazil,” the reigning ONE Flyweight World Champion begins. “Every BJJ athlete can be grateful to Royce Gracie for what he did.”
Before martial arts and cage competition became widespread, Brazilian jiu-jitsu was still relatively unknown, even in its home nation.
When a welterweight Gracie competed in front of cameras for the first time in the early 1990s, almost nobody expected a humbly-built man to defeat giant strikers. But he quickly proved what his family had known for many years – that it was indeed possible, as he decimated the competition.
According to Moraes, Gracie paved the road for all Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners to have success, both in competition and in life.
”He gave the opportunity for all of us to have a job today,” the flyweight king declares. “It is an honor to be here in high-level martial arts competition, and enjoy the life.”
The 29-year-old now serves as an inspiration for others, but it is not the champions of old, or the rich and famous, that keep his fire burning. Now, he is motivated by those who have to face adversity every day.
After all, those are the true warriors amongst us.
“The people that most inspire me today are the kids who are in the hospital, who are fighting to live every day because they are ill or have tough diseases,” Moraes explains. “They inspire me now that I am a world champion.”
Knowing that he might never have made it out of the first few months of his life if circumstances were not in his favor, the Brazilian can empathize with the innocent young lives that struggle daily.
If he can take strength from them to keep competing, “Mikinho” is in a position where they could look to him and do the same.
Moraes will attempt to keep inspiring when he defends the undisputed ONE Flyweight World Championship against undefeated Filipino challenger Danny Kingad (8-0) at ONE: LEGENDS OF THE WORLD on Friday, 10 November.