‘You And Your Skateboard Become One’ – Inside Adriano Moraes’ Lifelong Obsession
For ONE Flyweight World Champion Adriano Moraes, there’s no better way to unwind after a week of grueling training sessions than by hopping on his skateboard and unleashing his creativity.
Moraes – who is preparing to defend his belt against Yuya Wakamatsu at ONE X on Saturday, 26 March – is a lifelong skater who still finds time to hit the ramps when his schedule allows.
“Mikinho” first discovered the sport when he was just a kid on the streets of Brazil, as it gave him a way to have fun and make friends.
Now 32, the MMA star has been doing it for 20 years, while his passion for the high-octane activity and the vibe surrounding it has never waned.
Moraes told ONE Championship:
“I started skateboarding when I was very young. I was 12 years old. There was a very large crowd that skated in my area in Brasília, and I started to skate too. At that time, we skated, did capoeira, fought in the street (laughs). And we did everything with skateboarding – went to skateboarding school, went to skateboarding training. Skateboarding was part of my adolescence.
“I had a really good crowd. I liked to be on the street with my friends, and we ended up joining this street culture of skateboarding. I’ve always really liked [Brazilian] rap, hip-hop, reggae and rock, and it all had to do with skateboarding culture. It was always something I liked.”
While many childhood and teenage hobbies can fade away, Moraes has held onto skateboarding because it still gives him the same buzz and satisfaction that he experienced in his younger years.
It’s not the same as combat sports – another endeavor he’s stuck with since the beginning – but it’s a fun alternative that helps him relax and socialize away from the gym.
“My MMA career takes a lot of time, but always on Sundays, I like to go to the skate park, or when I’m going to the gym, I go for a skate ride. Sometimes, I get together with some friends from the gym who like to skate too, and everyone goes to the street park, usually on weekends.
“It’s a much quieter adrenaline rush [than MMA]. It’s an adrenaline rush made up of adventure. You surfing on concrete streets, being able to do tricks. You and your skateboard become one person, a single subject. It’s pretty cool.”Adriano Moraes on his love of skateboarding
Has Skateboarding Helped Adriano Moraes In MMA?
Adriano Moraes has been the most dominant force in ONE’s flyweight MMA division since he joined the promotion in 2013, and he credits some of that success to skateboarding.
It hasn’t taught him the kinds of skills that he used to knock out Demetrious Johnson or submit Danny Kingad, but “Mikinho” believes it’s given him athletic abilities that transfer well to mixed martial arts.
“Skateboarding helps you to have a lot of balance. It helps you to move with both arms and both legs because it has the maneuvers on the [regular stance] and on the switch – which is the [regular stance] reversed. So that forces you to have the ability to walk on both bases.
“Skateboarding helps me a lot. It helps me with my skills, it helps me to be calmer, to be more patient, to have more control. And best of all, balance. An MMA athlete today who doesn’t have a balance, he can’t go very far. And skateboarding helps me with all that because it’s a complete sport.”
The Brasilia native has always strived to be the best in his MMA career, and he’s been incredibly successful in that regard. But while he had similar aspirations for skateboarding as a youngster, he realized he reach the elite level in both.
So, MMA became his career and skateboarding became his hobby – a path that’s certainly paid off.
In the meantime, Moraes has enjoyed seeing his other favorite sport thrive, even reaching the Olympic stage in 2020.
“In my city and in the nearby regions, there were always some tournaments. I liked to participate. I won some competitions, and I always won a medal. It was one of the best times of my life, but there’s no way I could become a skateboarding world champion.
“The level is very high these days. The guys are training a lot. I think it’s impossible. We have to focus on one thing only, so that it be accomplished in the best possible way. There’s no way to be champion in both sports, which are totally different from each other.
“I am very happy and fulfilled with my career in MMA. But I am also very happy and in a way fulfilled to see skateboarding becoming an Olympic sport, and that society sees skateboarding today with different eyes.”