What made you so confident? What changed in your game plan between the ADCC and the Worlds?
Nothing really changed–I had the same amount of confidence leading into ADCC as well but I got caught there. After I noticed how fast I was healing and that I could still make the No-Gi Worlds, I switched my mindset from winning my first ADCC title to winning my second No-Gi World title, and I fully believed that it was my destiny. I knew that there was still something special for me in 2011, and it all worked out. If ADCC had gone differently, I don’t know if I would have had the same desire for the No-Gi Worlds or if I would have competed at all, so the moral of the story is to never ask why one thing didn’t work out but to continue working hard and to believe that there is still something special for you.
What were the hardest and the sweetest moments on your path to World Championship gold?
The hardest moment on my path to winning the No-Gi Worlds was making the weight! I had cut for 8 weeks for ADCC, so to diet another month and cut to an even lighter weight limit was really hard! I was very smart and did it the right way. I was even able to eat a light sushi dinner the night before the competition. I was very motivated for that division and that made the tough diet worth it. The sweetest moment is always after the final match is over and you get the rush of emotion and glory through your body. I cherish those moments! They are with me for the rest of my life!
Now you saw yourself on the cover… was it almost like winning twice?
Yes, it is! It made me very happy! It was like winning a bonus prize. I’m very honored that I was selected to be on the cover, and I hope I can make it at least one more time. It was a great way to finish my 2011 year of competitions, and it gives me a lot of motivation to go strong for 2012!
To find out more about our GMA Rafael Lovato Jr., pay a visit to www.lovatojr.com.