Jared Dopp trained for the ADCC World Championship while working full-time. Will he win another medal?

(This article is part of our week of ADCC coverage. To get live results, play by play, and commentary, we’ll have a live updates article running all weekend)

Imagine training for ADCC, the world’s foremost grappling competition.  Now imagine doing it with a full-time job and unpredictable demands on your schedule.  Or, as a full-time student in an engineering program. Jared Dopp has been able to accomplish this balance for the past 4 years with his ADCC preparation.

Jared Dopp is not just showing up to the ADCC tournament every 2 years. His results (4th place 2013, 2nd place 2015, 4th place 2017) cannot be overlooked. I caught up with Jared this week as he geared up for the 2019 ADCC World Championship. We talked about the difficulties of scheduling training, staying sharp and remaining flexible.

ADCC Success and Differences in Training

Though he won the 2012 IBJJF Blue Belt World Championship, Jared Dopp became more well known in the grappling world when he placed 4th in the 2013 ADCC Championship as a purple belt training under Rafael Lovato Jr.  Since then he has won a silver medal in the 2015 ADCC Championships, placed 4th in the 2017 ADCC Championship, and won an IBJJF World No-Gi title in 2018, among other accolades.  He’s done most of this on top of the demanding schedule that comes with studying as a full-time chemical engineering student.

“I wanted to train yesterday but I was at work until 7:30 [PM]”, Jared said. “I would have loved to be able to do the perfect training schedule … and then work, and stuff like that just makes it so hard to really set it in stone.”

I’m also an engineer and hobbyist grappler, so I have always admired Jared’s remarkable ability to balance high level Jiu Jitsu competition with his rigorous academics and work.  When I studied for my chemical engineering degree, I remember many nights where I was up until 2:00 AM while my non-engineering friends were partying or goofing off.  In the NCAA, engineer athletes are very rare because of the tremendous coursework burden.  It’s not easy to balance with any part-time job or social life, let alone an elite athletic competition.

When you stack up Jared’s training with someone like Alec Baulding, the difference is stark.  Athletes like Alec are full-time, getting in 2-3 sessions each day.  Dopp, in comparison, is getting in 2-3 sessions per week.

“Obviously because of the schedule, you can’t really make it the sort of days that you want, right?” Jared said. “I really wanted to make it to both no-gi classes during the week, but a lot of times I couldn’t, so I had to go to one no-gi and one gi.”

This limited mat time might sound alarming to some competitors, but Jared takes it in stride. He’s been here before, and done well with this reduced amount of preparation. He knows his body’s limits, and though he possesses undeniable athleticism, his best asset is his mind.

The Mental Edge

Alec Baulding talked through the mental aspect of his grueling sessions in his latest entry, where he found the will to work through exhaustion.  Though Jared isn’t on the mats as much as other competitors, I believe that mindset also applies to him.  When the only way to get in your lifting sessions is by sacrificing sleep, you build mental toughness on your own. 

Besides toughness, a sharp mind is undoubtedly one of Jared’s strengths.  In studying for his PhD in chemical engineering at Iowa State Universty, he is researching a type of synthetic biology called cell-free protein synthesis (CFPS).

“The work for my PhD falls under this big umbrella called synthetic biology.  Essentially my little niche in that is, I grow e. coli – not pathogenic, not harmful – and I harvest them, and then I bust them open. Then I use their cytoplasm, or guts, as a manufacturing facility to make desired proteins.”

This technology can be used to build proteins, which in turn can be used in many applications of scientific study. In the past, obtaining these proteins was not as simple. With the use of CFPS, researchers can more easily make their own proteins. The end-use has potential in understanding genomes, or developing medicines.

‘Different Perspectives’

In training for the 2019 ADCC Championships, Jared said he hadn’t changed his typical methods much.  However, one aspect of preparation that is different is his location.  Jared is currently in a co-op, or engineering internship, in the Philadelphia area.  That has given him the opportunity to visit a new mix of gyms.

During the week, he would go to BJJ United in Jenkintown Pennsylvania.  On the weekends he headed up to Zombie BJJ in Allentown, or Silverback Academy in Northern Virginia if he was visiting his girlfriend.

“The biggest difference is out here, I’m training at so many different places and I’m getting a lot of different perspectives.” Jared told me.

“I’m trying to open up my game a little more” he added, “just trying to be an overall more developed competitor.” Jared has accomplished this by using a different type of training partner this year. “I’ve got a lot of pretty high level guys this time who are just so, so fast,” he said while chuckling. “It definitely helped me put a lot more focus on speed and technique.”

In prepping for ADCC, Jared Dopp may not have the ‘perfect training schedule.’ But that’s life – you take what it gives you, adjust, and make the best of it. He’s comfortable in this situation – confident and ready to compete. We’ll be watching to see what he can do this year.

Check out all of Grappling Insider’s ADCC coverage, including interviews with Tom DeBlass, Eddie Bravo, and more. Stay tuned to our play by play and results thread as the event unfolds.

Matt Peters

Matt is a day-time engineer who enjoys writing about Jiu Jitsu and MMA. He has written in the past for YouJiuJitsu and Grappling Insider, among other sites. Matt is a BJJ blue belt who has mastered the art of skipping warmups. He has been training for 5 years in the Minneapolis area.

Matt Peters has 26 posts and counting. See all posts by Matt Peters