Like many of jiu-jitsu’s brightest stars of today, Mateus Rodrigues started his jiu-jitsu training at a young age. He and his brother, Lucas Rodrigues, came up through the ranks together, pushing each other to continuously grow and evolve. “I started jiu-jitsu at nine years old. It wasn’t the brightest beginning but having my brother Lucas winning and doing well by my side made me want to keep trying until I had my breakthrough and started succeeding as well.” As Mateus became more successful in competition, he began to take note of high level coaches and competitors who were having success. The most influential among them were Professors Gui and Rafa Mendes from AOJ.
After watching AOJ athletes having so much success in competition, Mateus knew exactly where he needed to be for his career. “A few years before I joined AOJ I already knew that this was my place. I just needed to figure out how to get here, and I did. I faced many adversities but today I know that adversities are where my true potential is shown and I’m proud of myself for always pursuing my dreams and goals no matter what. This year made six years since I moved to California and I wouldn’t change a single thing. My life is amazing. I can provide for my family. I have an incredible partner by my side. I own a business and I am confident I’m on my way to win my black belt world title.”
It was the work of Professor Gui Mendes that was particularly inspiring for Mateus and he was not only a champion on the mat, but was also producing champion competitors as a coach. “Having Professor Guilherme dedicating himself to those who are willing to put in the work is very special. He’s always on top of the game and always paying attention on how the new and next generation are playing out so I wouldn’t want anyone else to help lead my path. He had great influence on my achievements in the colored belts and I’m confident we will find my way to the top of black belt division as well.” Mateus hasn’t had many matches at black belt yet, but he did manage to win gold at the 2022 LA Open after defeating two experienced competitors.
The biggest achievement of Mateus’ competitive career so far was winning gold at the 2021 Worlds as a brown belt, a goal that he had set out to achieve at the beginning of that year. “Winning Worlds at the brown belt was probably the most special moment in my career so far. It was the first time I had my father watching me and he was right by my side. No one was going to beat me that day,” explained Mateus. After winning in the finals, he was promoted to black belt by Gui Mendes on the side of the mat. “I knew my black belt was coming soon. It was just a matter of where I wanted to get promoted and I chose that day. It was a beautiful day.”
Now Mateus will compete at the IBJJF Absolute Grand Prix in a super fight against Andy Murasaki of Atos, who placed 2nd at the 2022 World and Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championships. “I’ve competed against Andy in the colored belts a few times. I’m happy and I look forward to another great match against him!” Stylistically, it’s a great matchup as both athletes are well rounded and push the pace throughout their matches. Mateus shared his final thoughts leading into the event. “I’ve been training hard all year long, just focusing to improve myself the most I can and now I’m happy to be participating in the Absolute GP event and I’d like to thank IBJJF for the opportunity!”
You can watch the super fight between Mateus Rodrigues and Andy Murasaki live on FloGrappling.com on Friday November 18th.