‘I Want To Be An Example’ – How Mayssa Bastos’ Impeccable Drive Took Her From Brazil To The Global Stage

IBJJF World Champion Mayssa Bastos

Nine-time IBJJF World Champion Mayssa Bastos has just one piece of gold missing from her impressive trophy case – a ONE World Title.

On August 2, live in U.S. primetime at ONE Fight Night 24: Brooks vs. Balart on Prime Video, the 26-year-old black belt will challenge American star Danielle Kelly for her ONE Women’s Atomweight Submission Grappling World Championship.

Set to go down at Bangkok’s Lumpinee Stadium, that matchup pits two of the planet’s most talented submission hunters against each other and, understandably, has the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world buzzing with excitement.

Before she walks to the ring and battles for 26 pounds of gold, we take a closer look at Bastos’ path to the world’s largest martial arts organization.

Finding Herself In Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Raised in the coastal city of Marica, Brazil, Bastos was a reserved and soft-spoken youth.

She has fond memories of her childhood, which was filled with time spent in the grappling arts.

Bastos told onefc.com:

“I was a very shy child. I’m still quite shy, and I don’t think I’ve ever made many friends because of that. I liked to practice different sports. I tried surfing, but I started judo and jiu-jitsu when I was very young, and that’s where I found myself. To be honest, I don’t remember much, but I liked to play and go to the beach. I still really like going to the beach.”

Notably, the Brazilian is quick to credit her parents for their never-ending support.

With her father working in real estate and her mother working as a lawyer, Bastos never found herself wanting for anything, whether it be related to BJJ or otherwise.

She said:

“They supported me in everything they could, in competitions, and always took me to training when I was younger. If I needed a nutritionist, a fitness coach, everything they could do to help me, they did.

“My parents always supported me and helped me until I started to walk on my own two feet. They were the ones who introduced me to sports and helped me become who I am. I never had any problems with my family because they always supported me. And if I’m here today, it’s thanks to them.”

Big Goals From The Beginning

From the moment she attended her first BJJ class, Bastos was sure that her future was in the sport.

There wasn’t any doubt. She was hooked, and the young grappler wasted no time in fully dedicating herself to “the gentle art.”

The Brazilian said:

“The connection was right away. I liked it since the first time I stepped on the mat and wanted to do it every day. In a short period, I already knew what I wanted. I wanted to be a black belt and a World Champion. It was very fast in my head of wanting to pursue a career in jiu-jitsu.”

With the help of her parents, Bastos trained for hours every day and competed at every opportunity. Throughout the colored belts, she won practically everything under the sun to establish herself as a true prodigy and one of the most talented youngsters the sport has ever seen.

That early dedication helped propel her to the unmatched success she’s seen as a world-class black belt competitor.

Bastos offered:

“Since I started, I was training a lot. I spent a lot of time at the gym and was always competing. I’ve lived only for jiu-jitsu since I was little. On weekends in Brazil, there were always a lot of jiu-jitsu competitions, and there was a weekend when I participated in two competitions on the same day. I kept that pace of competition until the black belt, and it helped me grow as an athlete.”

Inspired By The Greats

After receiving her black belt in 2018, Bastos would go on to win multiple IBJJF World, European, and Pan-American Titles to cement herself as the greatest of all time in the sport’s lightest weight classes.

A true savant of BJJ, she says that her trademark move – the berimbolo – came from watching twin brothers Joao and Paulo Miyao, who pioneered the back-taking technique when the young Brazilian was rising through the ranks.

Bastos said:

“My inspiration in jiu-jitsu was the Miyao brothers. I discovered them when I was very young and watched their fights on YouTube. I saw a highlight of them doing the berimbolo, and that’s when I discovered this position that became my favorite position, as well. I think the berimbolo is one of the most beautiful positions of jiu-jitsu, and I think that’s what caught my attention.”

Today, Bastos possesses arguably the best berimbolo in all of jiu-jitsu.

She is much more than a one-trick pony, though, and continues to round out her game under the careful tutelage of Gui and Rafa Mendes at the world-renowned Art of Jiu-Jitsu in Costa Mesa, California.

The Brazilian explained:

“The Miyao brothers were my role models and an inspiration to me in jiu-jitsu when I was younger, especially because I really liked the berimbolo, a technique they were experts in. But nowadays, I follow the example of my teachers, the Mendes brothers, who were successful as competitors and are now also successful as teachers.”

Following Her Dreams

Despite her dominance at the highest levels of BJJ, Bastos maintains an open-minded, white-belt mentality.

Now on the precipice of global superstardom and a crack at a coveted ONE World Title, the introverted Brazilian is the same young girl who dedicated herself to BJJ years ago.

She said:

“All the people who have been and are part of my career, I try to absorb the best. I am shy and quiet, but well observant, and I always try to absorb the best in people, whether it’s hard work, consistency, or the way the person behaves, whether he or she is a respectful person.”

A constant student of the game, Bastos believes the best gem of wisdom she has ever received was to pursue her passions.

At ONE Fight Night 24, when she locks horns with Kelly, she’ll be doing just that.

The Brazilian said:

“The best advice I’ve been given was to do what would make me happy and to follow my dreams, and that’s what I’ve done since I was a child. I want to be an example and an inspiration as an athlete and person for several generations.”

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