Although “only” a brown belt, 23-year-old Pedro Marinho is quickly becoming one of the most sought out athletes in our sport by the top professional jiu-jitsu promotions. This month alone Pedro has competed on 3 separate events, having three more lined up for the upcoming 3 weeks. His June record currently stands at a 5-1, 3 of those wins going by submission, against some of the very best black belts in the world.
Why are promotions calling on Marinho’s expertise on such a regular basis? Much of that boils down to Marinho’s style and mindset: “In my opinion, when you are paid to compete, you are paid to put on a show, not to stay anchored down to your opponent or fighting cautiously just to get the W. I always think that if I am entertaining, win or lose, I will be called back by the promotion“, said Pedro to BJJ Heroes in an interview undertaken on June 2020, shortly after his win at the Jitz King 185lbs Tournament.
Taking chances has been a big part of Pedro’s life for some time. Back in 2017, after 4 years of training at a Brazilian Top Team (BTT) affiliate in his local town of Angra dos Reis, Pedro Marinho applied for a scholarship with Felipe Pena, which offered free training and accommodation at Preguiça’s highly developed Belo Horizonte grappling facility. The project, labeled FP Golden Team, opened vacancies for 16 talented athletes that year, and from over 1000 applications, 50 competitors were selected for the intensive 2-day trials, out of which 16 were accepted into the program. Marinho passed every test with flying colors and ended with the golden ticket.
After discussing the move with his BTT coach, Reinaldo Fernandes, the two agreed this was an opportunity of a lifetime and Pedro was set to live in Felipe Pena’s dojo, leaving the comfort of his family home to attempt a full-time career doing what he loved.
Arriving as a purple belt, Marinho quickly proved his believers right, earning a bronze medal at the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s (IBJJF) World No-Gi Championship later that year. Work he improved on the following two years, winning both in the purple (2018) and brown (2019) belt divisions.
Always willing to test the range of possibilities around him, in November 2018, Marinho accepted an offer to work at Gracie Barra’s Houston, TX academy, alongside another successful Red Shield instructor – Ulpiano Malachias, who, alongside Felipe Pena, promoted Marinho to brown belt in midway through 2019.
This move to Texas allowed Pedro to be right in the middle of the sport’s most challenging circuit, North America. This proximity to the world’s top competitive events helped Pedro gain a wealth of experience and collect the accolades that made him one of the most familiar faces in the sport. Thus far, Marinho has competed in big pro-events such as the ADCC, Kasai, F2W, 3rd Coast, Jitz King, etc, while being also a regular face in the biggest amateur league, the IBJJF.
All these experiences are not without planning. This continuous fight for self-improvement has been a conscious effort towards Pedro Marinho’s main goal: “To become a black belt world champion and win the ADCC, these are my objectives. I want to be the highest level athlete I can be, with the gi and without it. That is my main goal, without losing sight of the entertainment portion of the fight game“, the Team GB star stated, “I want to be the athlete everyone tunes in to watch fight“.
Given how hard this young man works, you don’t need to be Nostradamus to foresee a bright future ahead for this young Brazilian talent.