Lucio Linhares has long been one of MMA’s best kept secrets. A man who is commonly refered to as the “Godfather of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu” in his adopted country of Finland, Linares manages one of the heaviest teaching and seminar schedules imaginable all while continuing to improve his skills and fight at the highest levels possible.
The days of anonymity could soon be gone for the Brazilian as he is set to debut at UFC 107 on Saturday December 12, 2009. In his octagon debut Linhares is scheduled to fight fellow Brazilian Rousimar Palhares. Reflecting on his opponent Linhares told VOLT magazine, The first time saw him fight I was sure that he will be champion, but now I hope not…(laughes).
Fiveouncesofpain.com recently had a chance to speak with “The Spartan” as he prepares for his Octagon debut in Memphis. Linhares spoke about his beginnings in Kung Fu, his evolved striking, how he manages to live without a house or apartment, and the state of BJJ in Finland.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: What was your first experience in Martial arts? Did you start out in Jiu-Jitsu?
Lucio Linhares: No, I started when I was 15 years old doing Kung Fu, after that I did little bit of everything I tried everything from Aikido for Capoeira before Jiu Jitsu.
FiveOuncesofPain.com When did you start thinking that you could fight for a living?
Lucio Linhares: I don’t fight for a living, not yet, I teach.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: Would you say that you enjoyed fighting while growing up?
Lucio Linhares: Yes, I started like every other kid from my generation, watching Karate Kid and Jean Claude Van Dame and wanting to be like them.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: So much has been made of your submission game, and rightfully so, but what can you tell me about how much your stand-up game has evolved in recent months and years?
Lucio Linhares: It has evolved a lot, one my MMA coachs Petteri Maunu was talking to me and said that when I started fighting I was the version 1, only jiu jitsu, after some time in my career specially after I met coach Jarno Nurminen I went to phase 2, starting to incorporate stand up skills to my game, we found out that I have KO power, and now we are working in a version 3, with more technical stand up.
FiveOuncesofPain.com I know it’s been a number of years How long have you been traveling to Finland? And was it teaching and seminar work that took you to the area?
Lucio Linhares: Yes I’ve been coming to Finland since 2001, I was invited to work here for Alliance Jiu Jitsu one of the best schools in the world, if not the best:)
FiveOuncesofPain.com You have become pretty well known for your many seminars in Finland. Some call you the “godfather” of Jiu Jitsu in Finland, what can you tell me about the evolution of Jiu Jitsu you have seen in Finland during the time you have spent there?
Lucio Linhares: The Finns are hard workers, they have a lots of discipline not to mention the organization level of everything here, Jiu Jitsu has c0me a long way and they have many great fighters including world champions and ADCC fighters.
FiveOuncesofPain.com Is it true that you don’t actually own a house or apartment in Finland? It has to be difficult spending the majority of the year in a country with no place to call home. .
Lucio Linhares: Yes, every 2 weeks or so I take the road to keep seminar in a different place – I travel so much around the country and teach it is unnecessary to pay for a separate apartment. At this point I have been about everywhere.
FiveOuncesofPain.com: People who have been watching you fight and progress have often speculated about how you would do in the UFC, how did you come to be signed by the world’s largest MMA organization?
Lucio Linhares: After a great work of my manager Petteri Maunu getting me some really good fights our co-manager Josef Borges made the proper contacts with the UFC and was successful getting the contract.
FiveOuncesofPain.com; On December 12, you will make your UFC debut against Rousimar Palhares, a fellow Brazilian, are you familiar with his fighting style and past fights?
Lucio Linhares: Yes, I have seen many of his fights, he is a great fighter, it will be hard. I am getting ready to fight wherever the fight takes me.
FiveOuncesofPain.com Who are some fighters you like to watch fight?
Lucio Linhares: Fedor, Minotauro, Anderson Silva, Bj Penn, Toni Valtonen, Mikko Suvanto, Jarno Nurminen, Janne Tulirinta, Nikko Puhaka, Markus Vantinen, Mikko Ruponen among many others.
FiveOuncesofPain.com; Best of luck in your upcoming fight Lucio. Do you have any sponsors or training partners you would like to thank??
Lucio Linhares: Yes, I would like to thank HIPKO, SAUNA SESSIO.COM, KIMURA WEAR. My training partners Sune Virta, Toni Liljeroos, Timo Suhonen, Toni Valtonen, Jarno Nurminan, Mikko Suvanto, Ville Rasanen, many others, and from Brazil my conditioning coach Gustavo Carvalho, my Boxing coach Robson Vidal and my Jiu Jitsu master Eduardo Jamelão.