Rafael Lovato Jr. was brought up understanding the importance of purpose. Learning from a very young age the relevance of hard work, passion and dedication. Inspired by his father, who was a Jeet Kune Do teacher and a professional organist, and Bruce Lee’s philosophy, Lovato grew up comfortable thinking outside the box.
Born in Ohio, raised in Oklahoma when Brazilian Jiu-jitsu wasn’t popular and its teachings weren’t as accesible in the US yet as they are now, he had to work very hard in order to achieve the level of mastery he dreamt of. The Carlos Machado’ student was a young 19 years old brown belt, when destiny got him to fight the legendary Saulo Ribeiro, who saw in him something special enough for him to get involved in his tuition and mentoring.
Rafael started training with Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, traveling to Brazil, Ohio or any other place in the world in order to become better.
Lovato Jr. was the second American after BJ Penn to win Worlds, the first non-Brazilian to win the Europeans championship and the first American to win all the majors on the same year.
After a pretty successful BJJ career he made the natural transition to MMA, fighting at Bellator and becoming Middleweight World Champion. In 2019 he fought his last MMA fight in London due to a brain injury that make him retire sooner that we would all have wanted to.
After opening his new academy and overcoming the pandemic, Rafael won Europeans again back in February this years. He is now ready to fight Worlds at the Pyramid in a couple of days, where he’ll meet Erbeth Santos in the first round, and we are looking forward to watching him fighting at ADCC in September.
But… Who is Rafael Lovato? What’s his drive and mindset? His idols? What’s his purpose? And what’s make him one of the most beloved, inspiring and humble fighters in the world?
We had a conversation with him back in Rome after winning Europeans early this year. Get to know a bit better one of America’s finest fighters.
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