Despite pursuing a career in the UFC, Augusto ‘Tanquinho’ Mendes arrives in Finland hungry for the only grappling accolade missing from his trophy cabinet: an ADCC gold medal.
With his focus now shifted towards the realm of the 4oz glove, it’s easy to forget what a stud grappler Tanquinho is. He picked up IBJJF and Abu Dhabi World Pro titles in 2013 (proving to be Rafa Mendes’ kryptonite on both occasions), as well as IBJJF nogi titles in the 2012/2015 seasons. UFC commitments have kept him busy, but the Brazilian has his sights set on the only grappling medal he craves here in Finland this weekend.
“ADCC is the only title I’m missing,” says Tanquinho. “I have been able to get all the other titles in jiu jitsu, so the ADCC is something that I aim for and have always wanted to win. Jiu jitsu isn’t my main goal anymore but, when the schedule works, I will always come and fight at events like the ADCC.”
The -66kg division has seen a number of high profile withdrawals in the build up to the finals, with Justin Rader, Bruno Frazatto and Marcio Andre all relinquishing their places due to injury. Though these athletes will be missed, Tanquinho knows a hard path to gold still lies ahead of him.
“I am expecting tough fights as always; you never get easy fights at the ADCC,” Tanquinho explains. “I know there has been a lot of big names pull out of my division, like Bruno Frazatto, Marcio Andre, Justin Rader. Sometimes it’s good, because you have less competition, but you can’t underestimate the people who have come in – especially when you don’t know as much about them. Cobrinha is obviously there, and we’ve fought many times.
I have been able to get all the other titles in jiu jitsu, so the ADCC is something that I aim for and have always wanted to win.
“To be honest, I prefer to win tournaments by beating the big names. Not to take away from others who compete, but I like to test myself; that’s why I’m here. If I can test myself fighting against guys like Bruno Frazzato, Cobrinha; people like that, I would be super happy to come away with first place.”
With a UFC bout scheduled next month, there were many who doubted Tanquinho would make it to Finland for the ADCC. However, the Soul Fighter representative was quick to express that he’d “already given his word” to ADCC officials and that juggling his training really isn’t that difficult.
“It’s not too hard to be honest; it’s all inside your mind,” says Tanquinho on switching emphasis from MMA to BJJ. “The jiu jitsu lifestyle is something that I’ll do forever. I go to my academy every day and love my training, so as long as I am able to divide my training to support MMA also, it works fine. I just have to focus in a little bit more when I have an MMA fight around the corner.
“I thought for a moment if I could make this work and if I should pull out of the ADCC. But, they invited me in May and I’d said yes already because I was expecting to fight MMA in July or August. The UFC have now booked me in for the end of October, which is tight, but I still have a good five weeks to prepare for my MMA fight – just as long as I don’t get injured here!”
Watch the ADCC LIVE from Saturday September 23rd via FloGrappling
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