Euro, Pan, & Brasileiro Lightweight Champion Nathalie Ribeiro Drops To Feather For Worlds
The CheckMat black belt returns to featherweight for the first time since 2019.
For the last four years, CheckMat’s Nathalie Ribeiro has competed in the black belt lightweight division. During her time at lightweight, Nathalie collected gold medals at the Europeans (2022), Pans (2021, 2022), Brazilian Nationals (2022), Worlds No-Gi (2019), and Pans No-Gi (2021). Despite all of her success in the weight class, Nathalie decided to make a change and signed up for the 2023 Houston Open in the featherweight category.
“I had good matches at featherweight in Houston. I finished my first match with an ankle lock and in the second match my opponent popped her knee during my sweep attempt. I felt great making weight and I felt strong. I can’t wait for the San Diego Open to test myself one more time and get ready for Worlds.”
Though Nathalie was a highly accomplished lightweight athlete, she always felt that her body was more suited for featherweight. She took third at the 2018 Worlds at featherweight, and defeated 2022 featherweight World Champion Bianca Basilio on her way to the podium.
“My professor Lucas Leite always wanted me to keep doing feather because of my body shape. I don’t weigh over 138 lbs with a gi. I was in the lightweight division because I was too lazy to focus on a diet and I didn’t know how to do a proper weight cut and diet so I used to starve myself and it was affecting my performance. But as of this year I told myself I’d do it differently and at Europeans Lucas and Rico convinced me to cut at least for Worlds. My decision to do the weight cut differently and their talk about how good that’d be made me change to feather. Now I have a great team behind me that are helping me with my diet!”
With the addition of Nathalie, the featherweight division at the 2023 Worlds is absolutely stacked. World Champions Bianca Basilio, Anna Rodrigues, and Karen Antunes are all in the division as well as 2021 Pans silver medalist Margot Ciccarelli.
“The division is stacked with great talented girls and ARod and Basílio are two of them. Bianca and I have fought a few times before and it was always very entertaining and I hope it’s the same if I fight her again. I’ve never fought ARod but she is one of the people I wanted to challenge myself against because not only is her jiu-jitsu amazing, but also because of her mindset. She is confident and she inspired me to be too. So I want to fight her to show her how much much good she did for me when she was saying how cool it is to be awesome. I’m training my mindset a lot to feel excited and ready to face her or anyone at my bracket at any time. If I can’t fight her at this Worlds I hope to fight her in another tournament!”
Don't miss any matches from the black belt featherweight division at this year's World Championships. The event can be live streamed exclusively on FloGrappling.