Felipe Pena Talks Nicholas Meregali, Transition to MMA

Fresh off winning absolute gold at the 2021 IBJJF Worlds, Felipe Pena is now gearing up for the 2022 ADCC Championships, where he will attempt to become the first person to ever win two ADCC absolute titles. And as Pena moves his focus from gi to no-gi grappling, so too is he beginning the transition to competing in MMA.

In a recent interview with Bernardo Faria, Pena spoke about his move into MMA, as well as his cancelled match against Nicholas Meregali at the 2021 IBJJF Worlds.

On retiring from IBJJF competition, the 2022 ADCC Championships, and the transition to MMA:

I retired from the Worlds for sure. Maybe I do this fight against Meregali with the gi, but my main goal now is to focus on ADCC, train no-gi, and do the transition for MMA…

I already won in the gi all the biggest touranments and titles. I am 30 years old, so I see me fighting probably like 5 or 8 or 10 years, I don’t know… I think it’s important to find motivation. I had this motivation to win open weight and win all these titles. I need a new goal now. It’s good to have a new goal. I have this goal now to [win] ADCC, especially on the open weight. Because if I win I’m gonna be the only one to win it two times.

Of course I always have the plan to be a world champion in IBJJF. Ever since I was 10 years old it was a big goal. But after a while I was like, man, if I accomplish this I’m gonna put my name in history. That was my main goal.

On his cancelled absolute final against Meregali. Read more about that here.

I always dreamed [of this] moment. But I wanted to win in the final. I did all my part to win the other matches and be in the final, but I would prefer winning by fighting in the final. I wanted this title more than anyone, so I was really confident in the fight. And I was really happy to do this fight against Nicholas in the final of the open weight. I was pretty sad. Even after I won I was kind of like sad, it was a weird feeling… I asked IBJJF to let him fight the final of open weight. They were very strict about it… I accomplished the goal anyway, that was my main goal, and I’m looking forward to the next one.

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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