In an exclusive interview with BJJFLIX on the show "Meeting" , Felipe revealed to us exclusive details about his beginning in Jiu-Jitsu, lifestyle, and future ambitions for championships and for life. Below, you can read the full interview this beast gave to the BJJFLIX team.
There are several goals in Jiu-Jitsu for each person, the important thing is the good that it does for that person. If the person wants to compete, I encourage them, I teach, but if the person wants to enjoy it as a hobby and come here to sweat, train, evolve physically and mentally, meet new people, have a good time here on the mat. I'm also not telling that person to compete. I think that as in any sport there are those people who want to compete either professionally or because they like it, and people who train as a hobby.
My name is Felipe Pena, better known as “Preguiça” (Sloth). I started training Jiu at the age of 15, at Gracie Barra BH, under the influence of my older brother, Augusto “Tio chico”. I was a bit sedentary, I used to stay at home a lot in that time, I was a little chubby and my brother said "Felipe you are going to train Jiu-Jitsu" he was a brown belt almost black, he was an athlete and he was a world champion in the purple and brown belt.
So he took me to the gym and I knew Jiu-Jitsu, at first I didn't like it very much, it's not that I didn't like it, but I felt like that for not doing a lot of activity and it was a contact sport so it was quite hard for me , but I always liked the environment very much since the beginning, I made lots of friends there right away.
The nickname "Sloth", which was given to Felipe, was not in vain. Before becoming a super athlete and champion, Felipe was considered lazy by his teacher and training partners, that's why the nickname.
I started training, but whenever I could I leaned against the wall and stayed there talking to friends, that’s why Draculino, the team master, nicknamed me “Preguiça” (which in English means 'sloth'). Then he said “Gee, Uncle Chico! you're so lazy, man! You come here to train and stay on the wall over there ”. Then I remember that I stopped for like, two months, because I was studying, and then when I came back everyone at the gym was already calling me "sloth".
And here in Brazil everyone has a habit of giving you a nickname, and you know how it is, the nickname that you don't like is th one that sticks (laughs). So obviously I didn't like it, right? Come on, "sloth". And I started fighting and stuff, and that was when the guys got on top of me, after I got into the sport and started to train a lot, compete and stuff, the nickname stuck and is still with me until today.
When I started I was in a children's class, I was 15 years old, I think the children's class was for children and teenagers up to 16 years old. But I remember a lot my training partners back then. So there were some people that when you start, at the beginning they mark your memory like that. Even Draculino's son, Igor, you know, started training with me. And several others there who I think that they don't even train jiu-jitsu nowadays, there's one Breno Mansur who is my student, he stopped training for a while and now he's a brown belt, Draculino's son.
So I think that from those people who started with me, I think I was the only one who got to the black belt, the others stopped for a while and came back, some are still training, others stopped for good, they are not training anymore. Now I'm doing a heavy workout, it is focused on avoiding injuries and gaining weight, because my goal is to fight in the super heavyweight, so I'm trying to gain weight until next year's world championship. I'll try to win the world championship in another category
Felipe tells us that his ambition now is to be an absolute world champion, one of the most important and difficult titles to achieve in the BJJ world.
I already won in heavyweight division, I've fought practically everyone in this category, so in addition to the super heavyweight being a different challenge I think it's a nice goal that I set in the last year, I'm looking forward to that, in addition to helping me in a dream which is to win the absolute of the world. So the heavier you are the better, especially in the absolute of the world championship, which is a championship in which you take part in a lot of fights, being heavier you get less tired and you could do better fights with heavier people without being afraid of wearing out so much and without a huge risk of getting injured as it sometimes happens.