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Next Level Guy

Nov 6, 2020

Today’s guest is Rafael Lovato Jr.

Rafael is a legend Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) competitor.  He is a lifetime martial artist and the Owner & Head Instructor of Lovato’s School of BJJ & MMA in Oklahoma City. He has achieved nearly everything that is possible in BJJ and is now showcasing his talents in Professional Mixed Martial Arts, with a record of 10-0 (8 finishes). 

He is a 4th Degree Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt and also holds a Muay Thai Black Belt, as well as being the leader of the Lovato Jiu-Jitsu Association.

His bio is amazing, he has been the MMA World Champion in Legacy and Bellator. He has won Black Belt Jiu-Jitsu Titles, been the World Gi Champion, 3x World No-Gi Champion, a 13x IBJJF World Medalist, 3x Pan Champion. Over in Brazil, he went on to become the Brazilian National Champion and the Brazilian National Absolute Champion, and so many more championships and titles.

He was the First person to ever win the IBJJF Grand Slam (2007), the First Non-Brazilian to ever win a major IBJJF Absolute Title (2013). He holds the honor of being the first American to win the Pans as a Black Belt, the first American to win the Europeans as a Black Belt, the first Non-Brazilian to win the Brazilian Nationals and his accomplishments keep going on and on. 

In this interview, we discuss his story, his inspiration and influence from his father, his why he has been so successful, competition, developing yourself as a person and as a fighter and so much more. He was a bucket list guest for me and it has been an honor to feature him.  I am very proud of this interview and I hope it helps you on your martial arts journey and hitting that next level in your life.

This is my 100th episode and it blows me away to keep attracting amazing guests every week. I would just like to say a massive thank you to you for listening. I don't care if this is your first episode or 100th, I really appreciate you being part of my community, and for joining me on the voyage towards self-development and bettering ourselves compared to who we were yesterday. I couldn't keep doing this without the support of my listeners and their feedback, this podcast has helped and changed my life, and I hope you are getting what you need from it.

And now ... Let's get to the interview.


In this interview, we discuss gems like:

  • Who they are
  • Was he always destined to be become a martial artist? Did he feel the pressure of continuing the lineage of his father?
  • His early interest in music, which his father helped him encourage
  • The exploration to find out your WHY and your passion in life.
  • His motivation to drop out of school and follow an unusual path than the normal 9-5 route.
  • Why he changed from a competitor to a competitor, coach and businessman. How did he deal with the challenges from such a transition?
  • What does he think is the reason he has been and remains being so successful?
  • How has his workings as a coach and competitor, as well as experiences visiting Brazil at a young age affected his development, and has it made him a better martial artist practitioner?
  • The key to being a good teacher and coach.
  • Similarities among the top performers in BJJ, MMA etc.
  • How he remained focused and motivated, with unshakable positivity during his recent illness diagnosis.
  • What has he learnt from martial arts in terms of himself, friendships, martial arts etc.
  • Has he learnt any training hacks or skill-development methods that work for him?
  • Should all martial artists compete?
  • How can we deal with self-comparison, worrying about making a mistake etc - ways to stop over complicating or losing the joy of martial arts?
  • How martial arts can teach you just as much about yourself and life as it can about self-defense and the sport itself!
  • Ways you can develop yourself to help develop yourself as a martial artist.
  • His motivation to start writing a book and what writing allows him to do and learn about himself.
  • What does he want his legacy to be ... what should be written on his headstone?
  • Tips on surviving  the Coronavirus outbreak and not being able to train.
  • An unusual fact about himself.
  • How you can connect with them