SAO PAULO -- Five-time jiu-jitsu world champion as a black belt, Rodolfo Vieira earned his first ADCC title on Sunday, and he might be months away from making a transition to mixed martial arts.
Following his victory over Felipe Pena at the 99kg (218 pounds) ADCC 2015 final, Vieira spoke with Real Fight Championship promoters at the Mauro Pinheiro gymnasium in Sao Paulo, and was offered a contract.
"I got nervous when they made the offer, but will still think about it," Vieira told MMAFighting.com, saying he plans on making his MMA debut in 2016. "They told me think about it, if I want to fight this year or in 2016. But it’s not an easy decision. I will talk to my coach and see what I’ll do."
Competing at the 218-pound division in jiu-jitsu, Vieira would likely cut down to 185 to fight MMA.
"I’m too short for 205 pounds," he said. "I believe I would have to fight at 185."
Vieira slowly started training boxing and muay thai in 2013, but admits he’s not used getting punched in the face yet.
"No, not at all," he said with a laugh. "I’ve trained a few times, but it’s hard to train getting punched and kicked in the face. But you get used with it."
Vieira defeated some of the best grapplers this weekend in Sao Paulo, including a submission victory over former UFC lightweight champion Ben Henderson at the absolute division, where he placed third.
"I didn’t think he would be an easy match," said Vieira. "I was planning on pulling guard because he’s a good wrestler and I was tired (after a 40-minute match at the -99kg final). He went for a takedown and I countered with a guillotine, swept and mounted. I took his back, went for an arm-triangle choke, but he defended. He’s really technical.
"I was able to lock a triangle choke and attack the kimura to get the submission. But his jiu-jitsu level surprised me a lot. He’s light, but he’s really good."
Vieira, who turns 26 years old on Sept. 25, holds wins over the likes of Antonio Braga Neto, Antonio Carlos Junior, Sergio Moraes, Andre Galvao, and Alan Belcher in jiu-jitsu tournaments.