5 questions for absolute world champion Nathiely de Jesus

Nathiely after winning, last year, her first absolute world title. Blanca Marisa Garcia

Nathiely de Jesus is living a new phase of her life. With personal goals that don’t involve gold medals, she is happy to be heading her first jiu-jitsu school, in Boerne, Texas.

The sitting absolute world champion reveals, in this exclusive interview, what she plans for her future, her secret for high-level training, and the desire to do more superfights in 2020.

GRACIEMAG: After 5 world championships, what are you aiming for?

Nathiely de Jesus: To be honest, I’m happy and content with all my personal victories. I have conquered the best tournaments an athlete can have, like, for example, Euros, Pan, Brazilian Nationals and World Championship under the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. My ambition isn’t so centered on being the best or becoming champion again. Now, with the opening of my new gym, I want to make my students believe in themselves. I want to help them realize dreams and for them to be, especially, people who are good and have character away from the mat at our school.

So we will be seeing you in just a few competitions this year?

Very likely not, because I love competing in jiu-jitsu. The focus has changed; I will be taking care of my businesses more closely, and that doesn’t mean I’ll slow down the pace of my training. Jesus is my motivation for everything, and whenever I’m fighting I can carry his message to thousands of people present at the gymnasium or watching live through the internet. My husband also motivates me a lot, and I want to help him so that he can fulfill his dreams too. Here at our school, we have a relationship of always wanting to see others doing well too. May everybody grow and be happy. We’re a family! This new phase of conciliating my athlete life with that of being a teacher has been very good to me, in every sense.

For most of your career, you trained more with men than women. To what degree did that help you evolve?

Training just with the boys was an extremely important part of my evolution, because instead of trying to muscle, I’d prioritize technique. Because of this, my positions gradually became better, and I felt confident for any situations. I’d go into a championship knowing that nothing could be harder or more complicated than my training at the gym. There was never this issue of taking it easy because I was a woman; it was like they were training with another man. To be honest, my advantage has never been physical, but rather spiritual, because my victory comes from Jesus — he is what gives me strength. The mental side of things is strong because of the God I have. Of course, I also take care of my nutrition and I practice BJJ every day. There’s no mystery: you just train and believe that you can do anything.

With the expansion of the market of BJJ superfights, do you wish to fight a specific athlete?

No, because I think I’ve already fought almost every girl in the black belt. In case there’s an event with interest in my jiu-jitsu, I’m always ready to fight against any girl. Just send the contract. [Laughs.]

Have you imagined how the fans would react to a superfight between you and Cris Cyborg in no-gi, under ADCC rules?

I believe the fans would like that a lot. We’re talking about two athletes with a history in the sport. But I’ve never thought about this possibility, because Cris focuses more on MMA. If there’s the possibility of this fight happening in BJJ, then why not?

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