Like a lot of the new wave of martial artists, Brazil’s Luigi Vendramini started fighting as an amateur before he turned 20 years old. So while “The Italian Stallion” is just 25, he has a wealth of experience far beyond his years. Of course, his martial arts background goes back even further thanks to his family connection to fighting – and specifically high level fighters.
“I started MMA because my father is a Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, and I started to train jiu jitsu to just lose weight because I was fat when I was young,” Vendramini shares. “I started to train jiu jitsu and I saw many UFC guys in my gym – like Paulo Thiago, Massaranduba [Francisco Trinaldo], Renato Moicano.”
While working out with his dad and getting in shape, Vendramini was able to see all that the MMA world had to offer on top of jiu jitsu. He saw what the training entailed and immediately, it was something he was pulled towards.
“I looked at their training and said ‘I want to do this,” he said. “So I started to train boxing, muay thai, jiu jitsu and everything. And my father, all the time, was at my side.”
And that last part is something that Vendramini emphasizes through his whole martial arts journey. Family is first and foremost for him, as his dad has always been the guy he turns to during training. While that is his preference, that has changed to some extent.
When Vendramini made the decision to train at Factory X in Englewood, Colorado, he knew it would not be easy for him. His dad couldn’t come to train with him for camps, nor could the rest of his family. This, he feels, is the most difficult part of MMA for him.
“For me, this is the toughest part because my family is everything. I grew up with my whole family around, we all stayed together. So I’m here for five months in America training and I don’t see my family,” he said. “My father stays in my corner for all of my fights. When I started to train for jiu jitsu tournaments, muay thai fights, MMA fights – all the time with me. For my next fight, we’ll be together for one week and this is good because I miss him.”
Although he misses the longer periods of time with his dad and family, Vendramini knows that it is a price he’s paying for what he loves. Despite the difficult nature of it all, he is sure it is the right move to achieve what he believes he can, and will, achieve.
“For my work, I’m in the best place for me – the best place in the world. I feel like Marc Montoya is the best coach I I learned too much here and I changed my game, and I changed my mentality,” Vendramini said.
Luigi Vendramini looks to show off those improvements with his father again in his corner at UFC 263. He takes on Fares Ziam as part of the ESPN+ prelims this Saturday.
You can listen to the entire audio of this interview at 2:33.