‘Everything Is Going The Right Way’ – Still Unbeaten in MMA, Buchecha Aims For Heavyweight Gold In 2023
Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida had an impressive start to his MMA career in 2021, but the grappling sensation turned it up a notch in 2022.
First, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu icon registered a TKO victory over Simon Carson at ONE 158 in June, and then he submitted former ONE World Title challenger Kirill Grishenko at ONE on Prime Video 1 just two months later.
“Buchecha” now finds himself with a spotless 4-0 professional record and is being touted by many as the next big thing in ONE Championship’s heavyweight division.
The humble Sao Paulo native isn’t one to toot his own horn, but admittedly, he is very satisfied with how things have progressed since his transition from BJJ to MMA.
“2022 was really a very good year. I just have to be grateful. I earned two very important victories for my career. In 2021, I also had two fights, so in a period of 11 months, I had four fights. It was a very fast-moving period, having one camp after another.
“The feeling is of ‘mission accomplished.’ I’m happy to be doing well in the organization and taking the right steps in my career without hurrying. I think everything is going the right way.”
As well as maintaining an unblemished slate, “Buchecha” has also kept his streak of first-round finishes intact. Even more impressively, his wins have come against increasingly stern opposition.
While the lack of competition time does potentially leave some questions unanswered, Almeida believes it shows just how effective his preparation has been at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida.
“There were four wins in the first round. It shows that I’m feeling good, that I’m doing the right training, and that I’m adapting well to MMA.
“Of course, many people think that I’m not gaining experience because my victories were quick. But on the contrary, it proves that I am managing to put into practice all the training I have been doing.”
‘Buchecha’ Ready To Make A Run At Heavyweight Gold
Still, Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida’s dominance has prompted calls for a shot at the ONE Heavyweight World Title, and the voices got louder following his 56-second win over Kirill Grishenko, who challenged for the interim gold this past February.
Previously, the Brazilian star refused to entertain such talk. But now, he is more open to the idea and sees a path to a World Title opportunity in 2023.
“All my focus is on MMA, and 2023 will be no different. I’m improving every day, and I want to get more victories. My ultimate goal is to become ONE Heavyweight World Champion, so I’m working really hard on that. I hope to achieve this goal in 2023.
“If I manage to maintain this good form and conquer some more good victories, then I think I will be worthy of challenging for the title.”
While he doesn’t have any particular opponent in mind, “Buchecha” does have a preferred date to get back to business.
Currently recovering after an intense two-year schedule, the Brazilian would love to be a part of ONE on Prime Video 10: Johnson vs. Moraes III on May 5, 2023 – the promotion’s first live event on U.S. soil in Broomfield, Colorado.
“In May, it will be ONE’s first event in the United States, where I’ve lived for 12 years. I became an American [citizen], so it would be very special to fight on this card.
“I know that there are a lot of people who will fight on this card and nothing has been talked about yet, but it would be really special.”