The 2022 Pan No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championships return to Garland, Texas from October 14th through the 16th. Unity Jiu-Jitsu’s Devhonte Johnson will return to competition in the always tough super heavy division. After receiving his black belt from Murilo Santana in 2018, Devhonte has had great competitive results, particularly without the gi. In 2021 he won his first Pan No-Gi title as a black belt and followed that up with a World No-Gi title the following October. “It felt really good to win No-Gi Worlds and Pans last year because I had won them at every belt and it was a goal of mine to achieve the gold at black belt as well. The next goal is to double gold both events.”
2021 was Devhonte’s best year as a competitor. “Last year was a good year primarily because I felt like we had a good camp leading up to the events,” explained Devhonte. “I was really motivated after not getting some of the results I would’ve liked in the gi." The Pan and World No-Gi titles propelled Devhonte to the #1 ranking in the no-gi super heavyweight division, a spectacular feat for the New Jersey-based athlete. Despite the accolades, Devhonte is set on continuing to grow and evolve his skillset. “Rankings are cool and it’s nice to know you’re at the top of your division but I try to focus more on getting better and giving my best effort when I step on the competition mats. You can have titles and ranking but every competition is a new day and any one can win on any given day so you always have to climb the mountain again.”
Devhonte’s next mountain to climb will be the super heavyweight division at the 2022 No-Gi Pans. The division includes No-Gi World and Pan Champion Keenan Cornelius, Pan, European, and Brazilian National Champion Patrick Gaudio, and No-Gi American National Champion Fellipe Trovo. “My thoughts on the super heavyweight division at this years No-Gi Pans are I just want to win and fight well in the process. I don’t worry too much about the brackets. I’m just trying to be better everyday.” This mindset has helped Devhonte achieve success not only on the competition mats but also at his academy.
Since Bones Brazilian jiu-jitsu first opened its doors in 2019, Devhonte has been hard at work developing world class programs for kids and adults. Despite all the effort and struggle involved in his entrepreneurial journey, Devhonte has been able to find balance between his competition career and his business. “The biggest challenge is just managing time. When you compete and run an academy managing your time is essential. You need to be able to teach, help others, and still find time to work on yourself as an athlete and as a person. The biggest advice I would give to someone in a similar situation is to always be looking to evolve and grow. There’s no such thing as a final form or finished product. Always look to not just better yourself as an athlete but as a person, business owner, and entrepreneur. A big part of that is seeking knowledge. Train the mind and read a lot.”
You can watch Devhonte compete at the 2022 IBJJF Pan No-Gi Jiu-Jitsu Championships on flograppling.com. The event runs from Friday October 14th through Sunday October 16th, with black belt adult divisions kicking off on Saturday October 15th.