Tiequan Zhang’s trainer talks UFC 127 win, says UFC is heading to Hong Kong in 2012

By Guilherme Cruz

Born in Mongolia, an independent zone situated on the North of Chine, the featherweight Tiequan Zhang put on a heel of a show on his debut on UFC. Being considered by many the greatest representative of MMA on the most crowd country on earth, Zhang needed only 48 seconds to submit Jason Reinhardt on UFC 127, and TATAME chatted with the responsible for the sharp ground game of the tough guy. Pupil of Carlson Gracie, Ruy Menezes works with the gentle art in China since 2003, and commented on the growth of MMA and the prejudice that many coaches still have towards the modality on the country, the evolution of Zhang on the floor and, among many other subjects, revealed UFC’s plan to promote a show in Hong Kong next year.

When did you start to work with Jiu-Jitsu in China? How did you start to work with Tiequan Zhang?
I come to China since 2003, and in 2009 I got an official proposal to train a MMA team, on which I met Tiequan Zhang. I was in Beijing, in 2005, and Andy Pi, who owns Art Of War invite me to minister a seminar on Xian’s University. They have the best team of Sanda(it’s a kind of mix between Muay Thai and Boxing) in all China, and then I met Tiequan Zhang. In 2009, I got the proposal and accepted it.

Since you first started working together, how did he evolve?
When I got here he was a BJJ blue belt, but not in Brazil’s level. I’ve started to train him and explain what really worked and what was just to distract. On these two years I’m here, I can tell you he learned a new Jiu-Jitsu and now he’s my brown belt. I taught Tiequan Zhang what I’ve learned from my master Carlson Gracie: to do it, don’t pretend it. He invited me to set up a team and I’ve accepted it, but as a coach, not owner. We put together China Top Team. I thought it was a cool name because I was from BTT, and Liborio and Conan, who are my friends, came from ATT.

 

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