‘He’s A Warrior’ – Musumeci Gives Props To Brooks After Hard-Fought Win At ONE Fight Night 13
The BJJ superstar did just that last Friday at ONE Fight Night 13: Allazov vs. Grigorian on Prime Video, forcing the strawweight MMA king to tap after seven minutes of action at Lumpinee Boxing Stadium in Bangkok, Thailand.
The victory was Musumeci’s fifth in as many ONE appearances, his third successful World Title defense, and his second consecutive submission finish.
But while “Darth Rigatoni” is considered by many to be the planet’s top pound-for-pound submission grappler, he was quick to heap praise on his opponent.
After the event, Musumeci spoke to the media about Brooks:
“He’s a real champion. Champions put themselves in uncomfortable positions. And they push themselves for growth. And he had no ego. He dropped his ego to come out here and grapple with me. And that’s what I define as a champion. So again, I have so much respect for that guy.”
Achieving the submission was no easy task for the defending titleholder.
Musumeci spent much of the match attacking from his vaunted closed guard, but Brooks remained defensively sound, forcing the BJJ sensation to dig deeper and deeper into his bag of tricks.
“Darth Rigatoni” explained:
“Man, I grapple with so many high-level people, and he’s super tough and durable, super strong. I was really impressed by how he was hand-fighting me in closed guard. He was awesome, and again, props to him. He’s a warrior. He’s a World Champion in MMA, and he took a match with me in jiu-jitsu, going out of his comfort zone.”
Musumeci Felt Pressure To Put On Exciting Grappling Showcase
Mikey Musumeci was proud to defend his gold against a talented opponent, but more than just winning, he was both happy and relieved to secure the submission.
Each time “Darth Rigatoni” steps out to compete under ONE’s bright lights on its massive global platform, he feels an obligation to make his matches exciting – and thereby grow the sport of submission grappling.
“I get so much anxiety before these matches. It’s not about winning to me anymore. It’s about doing cool sequences, making it exciting so we can keep jiu-jitsu on this platform. It’s still tentative. If these matches don’t get finishes, these MMA and Muay Thai fans are just going to go to the bathroom during jiu-jitsu matches, and we’re going to lose jiu-jitsu on this platform. I got to keep it exciting.”
For the majority of his BJJ black belt career, Musumeci competed in small gymnasiums for little or no pay.
With that history still fresh in his mind, he understands and appreciates this opportunity to compete in ONE Championship alongside the biggest stars in MMA, Muay Thai, and kickboxing.
“The Ruotolos and I are basically the frontier people doing this, and we have to keep these matches exciting so we could keep it on this platform. And then the next generation could make money doing jiu-jitsu also like we are now. I don’t want people to have to feel that they have to do anything or another profession in order to make money. So we’re so blessed.”