Interview with Pablo Popovitch

Pablo Popovitch

Micah Caputo
As an avid competitor how important do you think it is to compete in order to improve your BJJ game?

Pablo Popovitch
In my opinion, it is very important. People react different in competition. They fight with strategy, more energy and most don’t accept defeat easily. At the gym, it’s all fun and games. You don’t care about being swept or someone passing your guard. In competition, people don’t give up positions that easy. So, in my professional opinion, competing makes you work harder and improves your game.

Micah Caputo
What is something important that you have learned from competing?

Pablo Popovitch
It taught me never to give up my dreams. I’ve lost before and to me it is the worst feeling in the world. I came back, trained harder, worked on my mistakes and kept winning. My dream was to be a champion. If I gave up on my first defeat, I wouldn’t be giving out this interview today.

Micah Caputo
How do you feel about really talented students or training partners that don’t want to compete or always have excuses to not compete?

Pablo Popovitch
Life is about choices. Whats fun for me, sometimes  is not for you. It doesn’t bother me a bit.

Micah Caputo
Do you feel that everyone should compete or is competing not for everyone?

Pablo Popovitch
Everyone should do what gives them joy.

Micah Caputo
When you train for a competition how intensely do you like to train?

Pablo Popovitch
Very intense, I am a maniac when it comes to training. I hate losing more than anything in the world, so Ill do wherever it takes to win.

Micah Caputo
Do you like to take time off between competitions or are you always ready to compete?

Pablo Popovitch
I plan my competition so I don’t get burned out.  Last year, I competed a lot because I wanted to prove the point  that I could win any absolute that I wanted. The results were five weight division and five absolute victories. I was undefeated, without a single point scored against me. I was also voted by the fans of Gracie Magazine as ” the best competitor of the Year”. I over trained and over competed. A lot was achieved but this year I felt tired and burned out. To answer your question, I plan my competition like a season of football. I have the time to compete and time to strengthen my skills, power, endurance etc. I never compete all year long or without notice.

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Micah Caputo
What is your philosophy of Gi verse No-Gi training and competition? How often do you train in the gi?

Pablo Popovitch
Gi is more stalling. No Gi is faster. It’s up to the person to decide which one is more fun. I train daily with the gi and I enjoy it. I love competing no gi  and that is my passion.

Micah Caputo
Do you find it more exciting to compete or coach a student or teammate who is competing?

Pablo Popovitch
Both equally.

Micah Caputo
What is the biggest challenge you have faced in BJJ?

Pablo Popovitch
Competing at the ADCC 2005 after being injured without training for six weeks and at the week of the ADCC getting food poisoned. I still placed second but it was a really hard tournament under those conditions.

Micah Caputo
What are your thoughts on the mental game during competitions?

Pablo Popovitch
I always believe that I am going to win. There is never a doubt in my mind.

Micah Caputo
Do you foresee any major changes taking place for BJJ tournaments such as rule or format changes.

Pablo Popovitch
There are always changes. Let’s just hope its for the better.

Pablo Popovitch Worlds 2010 No-Gi

 

Micah Caputo
At the 2010 Worlds No-Gi, you won your weight class but took third in the open class due to a “Gentlemen’s Agreement”. What are thoughts on teammates not competing against each other at the championship level tournaments?

Pablo Popovitch
Start paying us money and we will fight each other. The worlds makes you pay a $100 registration fee and they want you to compete against your teammate? ADCC is a different story, you have to fight everyone. I promised Cyborg the gold that year. He is my brother, and he deserved it. I should have fought Buchecha and I regret to this day that I didn’t. After the Worlds, he stopped training with us. We helped his game a lot while he was with us and he won every major tournament after he started training with us. If he beat me in training, I think it was only fair that I gave him the win, but that wasn’t the case. I was a much more decorated competitor, dominated him in practice, and helped his game.

In my opinion, I don’t think it was fair to play paper scissors with a guy you beat in practice everyday. That is the old Carlson Gracie philosophy, the best fighter advances. I like the kid a lot but that day I believe I got the worst of it.

Micah Caputo
How is your training coming a long for ADCC 2011? What are your predictions?

Pablo Popovitch
Training is great, my prediction is for a finals against my friend Andre Galvao who I admire as a person and athlete.

Micah Caputo
Do you have plans to compete in Mixed Martial Arts in the future?

Pablo Popovitch
Maybe.

Micah Caputo
What is next for you? Is there anything you’d like to mention? (Seminars, sponsors, etc.)

Pablo Popovitch
I would like to thank all my fans, family and my sponsor Brawl and Maul as well as Inside BJJ for the interview!

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