This weekend, athletes from all over the world are engaged in battle at the World Jiu-jitsu No-Gi Championship in Long Beach, California – Thaysa Silva is one of them.
Silva is married to UFC fighter, Thiago Silva, who has become a known face in the MMA scene with a scorecard of 14 wins, 3 losses and 1 no contest. As Thiago gets ready for his next fight in Macao, China against Stanislav “Stucky” Nedkov next weekend, his wife shows the world he is not the only champion in the family.
Thaysa, a black belt since 2007, has been training with Pablo Popovitch who holds multiple medals and awards and is the co-founder of the grappling competition team, The Avengers, which Thaysa represents. With his help she intends to continue competing for more gold.
“He is the best coach I’ve ever had in my life,” says Thaysa who trains full-time at BJJ Center of Ft. Lauderdale. “He is my inspiration as well as Gabi Garcia. They have both encouraged me tremendously.”
Thaysa is not new to competitions. In September, she took home the medium heavy weight gold against Valerie Worthington in the Pan Jiu-jitsu No-Gi Championship in New York. Still, 32-year-old Thaysa feels she in the best place mentally and physically.
“Maturity makes all the difference,” says the fighter who doesn’t dispense of her pink manicure and heels off the mats. “I feel that I am much more woman now, mature and determined.”
Although beautiful and captivatingly feminine, on the tatame (dojo), Thaysa is one of the guys. She is tough and persistent, a real powerhouse with an enviable stamina.
“I have been doing 12 six-minute matches straight.”
Thaysa maintains a strict schedule practicing an average of seven hours per day.
Native of Sao Paulo, Thaysa first started jiu-jitsu decades ago when a group of about 20 of her college friends joined a near by bjj school. Only three of them continued their bjj careers, including Bruna Ribeiro. At this school, she trained with Michel Langui and Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles Maciel when they were only blue and purple belts. It was there she met her husband, Thiago.
Thaysa managed to fight her way to the final match, where she lost a controversial decision. She opened the scores by two points over Beatriz Mesquita who counterattacked by grabbing Thaysa’s arm. The judges penalized Thaysa by saying she was too passive causing her to lose the title. Indignation by other famous competitors ran rampant on tweeter.
“It’s absurd!!! Defend the arm and be punished? She should let (her) grab it?” tweeted Fabio Gurgel.
Robson Moura and Gabi Garcia all shared the same sentiment.
Despite the disappointment, Thaysa’s determination will bring her to the spotlight again. She is among the best female competitors of today. She is thankful to her coach Popovitch and her sponsor Jaco.
“I came to stay,” says Thaysa sad with the decision but with an unwavering will to keep competing.