Two-time ADCC World Champion Yuri Simoes is ready to debut in ONE Championship and make an instant impact in the promotion’s middleweight division.
In fact, the 30-year-old Brazilian believes it’s his destiny to claim the ONE Middleweight World Title.
“I am the only two-time Black Belt Absolute No-Gi World Champion and have won ADCC titles in two different weight classes,” he says.
“Although I love jiu-jitsu, I am excited to take the next step in my journey as a martial artist with the best promotion in the world.”
In an exclusive interview with ONEFC.com, Simoes spoke about his decorated grappling career, transitioning to mixed martial arts, and the man he would love to face inside the Circle.
ONE Championship: Could you talk about your influences and how you initially got involved in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?
Yuri Simoes: I grew up in Ilha de Guaratiba, which is a small town in the state of Rio. Growing up, my biggest influences were my parents. They were always very supportive of me from a young age.
My father practiced jiu-jitsu, and he taught me when I was very young. When I was 9, I started officially training under Mauricio Behring. He passed away when I was 16, but the lessons he taught me shaped my foundation as a martial artist and a person.
ONE: You’ve achieved great success in BJJ. What is your greatest accomplishment and memory from that part of your career?
YS: I remember when I was 13, my father and I talked about ADCC, and I told him if it ever comes back to Brazil, we have to go.
In 2015, it returned to Brazil, but this time I wasn’t watching – I was a competitor! I had my family there by my side as I won gold, and it was like a dream come true. This is a memory that I will never forget – to win the title and to share the moment with my family.
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ONE: When did you decide to transition to mixed martial arts, and what was that process like?
YS: In 2015, I wanted to start my mixed martial arts career. I signed to train with AKA and trained really hard, but I suffered a serious injury in 2016. It was a major setback, both physically and emotionally.
At that time, I had to make a decision: defend my ADCC title or continue down the mixed martial arts path. I decided to defend my title, and it was a good decision. Not only did I win gold, but I pushed myself and grew as a martial artist.
After the 2019 ADCC, I told myself no matter what happens, I will follow my dreams and pursue my growth as a martial artist in mixed martial arts.
ONE: How has the quarantine affected your training, and how are you maintaining a positive mindset during this pandemic?
YS: Training during quarantine has been very difficult. One thing that has really helped my mindset is the support I have received from the team. They believe in me, and I will do everything I can to make sure that I am ready any time an opportunity comes.
ONE: What was the deciding factor in signing with ONE?
YS: 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.
ONE: Who would you most like to face in ONE’s middleweight division?
YS: “The Burmese Python!” I have a lot of respect for Aung La N Sang, and he’s a great champion. They say that in order to be the best, you have to beat the best, and I hope I get that opportunity one day when I earn it. For now, I am really focused on preparing for my first fight against whoever that may be.