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NEWS UPDATE - Judo Olympian Travis Stevens: 'I'm going to Copa Podio to do BJJ, not judo'

                        Travis Stevens for the Copa Podio Middleweight GP on September 8. Photo: Copa Podio

By Erin Herle 

The Copa Podio Middleweight GP on Sunday, September 8 is a bit different than the events in the past. This time, there are more brown belts and wild cards than ever. Between Paulo Miyao entering way below the weight limit as a light-featherweight and two brown belts along with many brand new black belts, both yellow and green groups have no sure winner.

Copa Podio 2013 middleweight Grand Prix Highlight - BJJ Hacks

Perhaps the biggest wild card is that of Judo Olympian Travis Stevens, a Renzo Gracie brown belt. Although his Jiu-Jitsu resume may be short, especially compared to those on this Copa Podio roster, his Judo accomplishments make him one of the best in the world.

A two-time U.S. Olympian in 2008 and 2012, he recently earned a bronze in the Judo Pan American Championship. Today he trains and teaches in both Judo and Jiu-Jitsu at his school in Boston, MA as well as in NJ/NYC but for the Copa Podio, he’s all Jiu-Jitsu.

Travis spoke with GRACIEMAG about what it will be like to enter a Jiu-Jitsu event such as the Copa Podio:

GRACIEMAG: Coming from a very high level of Judo, how will you adapt those skills to your opponents at Copa Podio?

TRAVIS STEVENS: Unfortunately for me the strategies that are used in Judo are not the same as BJJ so there wont be much cross over. The only thing that I will be able to bring to the table from Judo is how comfortable I feel while competing. I’m used to competing about 15-16 times a year for Judo which keeps me in a competition mind set.

How do you normally balance your Judo training versus Jiu-Jitsu training and have you adapted your routines for the event?

I’m lucky enough that Judo provides me with a living and I’m able to do it full time. So BJJ for me is just a hobby. I normally train Judo full-time, two sessions a day Monday through Thursday and one Judo session on Friday. I do BJJ at least once a day either teaching or if I’m lucky I get a good rolling session in during the week. But I spend my weekends driving down to NYC from Boston to train BJJ full time at Renzo’s school in the city and at Renzo Gracie Fort Lee. Friday and Saturday I do two BJJ sessions and one BJJ session on Sunday. Then I drive back home sunday.

Even though BJJ causes some strain on the body I still consider it down time because I really enjoy working with John [Danaher] and Renzo [Gracie] and all the other guys from Renzo’s. The only thing I’ve really changed in my training for Copa Podio is I did a little bit of situational drills for specific people. Which is something that I’m not accustom to doing in Judo or BJJ.

How does it feel coming into a Jiu-Jitsu tournament and atmosphere? Do you feel like your skills and outstanding Judo accomplishments will be overlooked by your opponents?

I feel like a kid on his first day of school when I go to a BJJ competition looking around feeling out of place watching people warm up and a little lost on what I should be doing. But when I step on the mat and see my opponent I feel at home again and regardless of rules and scoring systems a submission is always a win so I know my goal and how to get there. I don’t think my Judo accomplishments will be overlooked but I think that my Judo accomplishments won’t help me in any BJJ competition. Even if someone tries to stand up and take me down I’m just going to pull guard anyways. I’m going to Copa Podio to do BJJ not Judo.

For more information and to purchase the livestream of the Copa Podio on Sunday, September 8 go to www.copapodio.com 

Draw seals the fate of 10 gladiators in the group phase of the Middleweight Grand Prix.

                The two groups set for the second edition of the Copa Podio Middleweight GP. Photo: Copa Podio

The Copa Podio Middleweight GP has set its roster and determined the green and yellow groups for its second edition. On Sunday, September 8, the event will begin at 5:00 p.m. local time at the Tijuca Tenis Club in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. The time for Los Angeles or PST will be 1:00 p.m. and for New York or EST will be 3:00 p.m.

Each group holds five competitors. Each person will face each other in their own group and gain points that will decide who goes to the semi-final matches.

The points are as follows: 4 points for a win by submission, 3 points for a win via points or advantages and 1 point for a draw.

The groups have been decided:

Travis Stevens (USA) vs Tim Spriggs (USA) - Green Group - 5th round

Travis Stevens (USA) vs Felipe Preguiça (BRA) - Semifinal

Paulo Miyao (BRA) vs Travis Stevens (USA) - Green Group - Middleweigth GP - 2nd Season


Renato Cardoso
Travis Stevens
Paulo Miyao
Manuel Diaz
Jaime Canuto


Felipe Preguiça
Alexandro Ceconi
Diogo Moreno
Yan Cabral
Kit Dale

A new detail has been added by the Copa Podio organization: “All pay-per-view subscribers, as well as the audience at the gymnasium, will be able to vote to decide which team will face Leandro Lo and the Miyao brothers in a new event that will be organized after the Middleweight Grand Prix.”

Copa Podio

The Copa Podio of Jiu-Jitsu is a professional tournament that gathers fighters specially invited to this event.


The event composes a sporting spectacle structure with the excitement of holding combats among high-performance fighters.


The format of the competition is of a Grand Prix (GP) divided into three phases, totalizing 24 combats with approximately 4 hours.


Among the GP matches, there are special matches disputed by fighters from different categories.                 

SOURCE: graciemag.com

Check out Gracie Mag, and get up to date info from the founders & leaders in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu...

GRACIEMAG is the original Jiu-Jitsu magazine. We teach Jiu-Jitsu fundamentals and techniques. We spread the Jiu-Jitsu philosophy, diet and lifestyle. Since 1994.

Green Group fighter Footage...

GREEN GROUP - Renato Cardoso                

GREEN GROUPTravis Stevens


GREEN GROUP - Manuel Diaz

GREEN GROUP -Jaime Canuto



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Comment by Dave R. on August 21, 2013 at 10:12am

"Unfortunately for me the strategies that are used in Judo are not the same as BJJ so there wont be much cross over."

I agree with this.  Far too often I hear that BJJ guys should cross-train Judo to improve their BJJ game and that Judo guys should cross-train BJJ to improve their Judo.  I really don't agree with this as the rules between both sports are very different.  I'm not suggesting training with BJJ guys won't improve your newaza because it would.  I'm not suggesting BJJ guys wouldn't get better on their feet if they trained with Judo guys.  I'm saying that people should train in the other sport for the sake of learning something new without the pretense that Judo is going to somehow translate well in a BJJ match (or BJJ in a Judo match).

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