In the last ten years Chad Robichaux has has won one NAGA championship, gone on eight tours of the Middle East, compiled eleven MMA victories with 10 submissions to only a single defeat. The guy is a machine. On July 22nd he makes his return to Legacy fighting to take on Jonathan Mackles in one of Robo’s final bantamweight fights. Chad is ready to make a run at the UFC flyweight division as soon as it’s doors open, so he has relinquished his Legacy bantamweight title and will be waiting patiently for his turn to dominate the 125 pounders.
We got to talk to Chad about Jiu Jitsu, training and what the future holds for flyweights in MMA. Read on.
You are a highly decorated Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioner, what would you recommend more for the transition to MMA: gi or no gi? I think its important to do both, we have our guys who teach guys who want to get into MMA and are reluctant to get into the gi. I say it’s like riding a bike. Start with training wheels. It helps with your muscle memory and where your grips belong. If you can escape someone with a gi you can certainly escape someone without one. So it’s a great training tool. It gives you a great foundation. Babalu came in last week or so, we were talking about it. He says he still trains three days a week in a gi. I know a lot of others do as well.
How long have you been training in the martial arts? I’ve been training traditional Jiu Jitsu since I was five years old, so thirty years. I never got out of the martial arts. I didn’t start BJJ until 96 or 97.
How was the transition from traditional Japanese Jiu Jitsu to BJJ? Japanese has more throws and is more Judo based by my understanding. You still have the same submissions but I will tell you this is where BJJ has the edge: it’s the natural transitions and flow. That’s what makes it a dominant martial art. With Japanese JJ you hit the throw and you hit the ground and you aren’t looking to grapple with them, you are looking to sub them and attack the submission right away. I’ve tied the two together well.
What is the best piece of advice you have gotten for training? Push. Continue to push through. Especially when you are tired. That’s what makes or breaks guys in competition. If you quit during training then you won’t be there for competition. You can’t let yourself get comfortable or you accept it in competition. You have to have the experience to overcome giving up.
So you took eight tours in the middle east? Yeah primarily Afghanistan. Three or four month tours not like the old one year tours so, that’s what the spec ops community does.
Eight is pretty high huh? Yeah, over a period of four years we had a pretty small group of guys pretty much rotating in and out with each other. Pretty much just two groups of guys.
What made you keep going back out there? Is eight tours above and beyond? There was a need and requirement. That’s pretty much how it went. Only one time did someone have to drop out and they asked for a volunteer and I went. For the most part I was pretty much on schedule. I think you will find a lot of guys in Seal Team 6 and Delta Force, those guys are deployed 50% of the time. Pretty heavy workload for those guys. But I know some that have been just as active for seven or eight years.
Do you think you will go back? No I’m done, fortunately and unfortunately. I miss it, I miss it tremendously and my last trip, over the course of time I had been diagnosed with PTSD-Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and I didn’t deploy again. I miss it, and I’m glad to have the opportunity when I had it. Now I’m involved in a couple charities that I love, particularly Soldiers Angels. Helping the guys with PTSD or amputees, or brain injuries. Trying to support those guys and getting them back to some sort of normalcy in their life.
So are you defending your bantamweight title at your upcoming fight at Legacy? No. My aspirations aren’t to stay. So I’m going to vacate the belt. I want to fight outside of legacy but I wanted to be active so I decided to fight there to keep active and let someone else fight for the belt. I’m going to fight at 135 pounds for the last time, then I’m going to drop to 125 pounds for my next fight and from there, hopefully join the ranks of the UFC 125 division and be the first flyweight champion in the UFC.
So is this flyweight why you aren’t with Bellator or Strikeforce right now? Yeah my manager just talked to Bellator trying to get a flyweight fight for me and they wont do one. As well as Strikeforce who I fought for last August. The global weight for flyweight I guess is 131 and below and I fought at about 130 to 131 pounds. So that was technically flyweight but that was a onetime deal and Strikeforce doesn’t support it. So I’m really excited that the UFC made the decision regarding the flyweights. I talked to Sean Shelby in person at the last Strikeforce and it looks like they are going to put a lot of effort behind the division, really support it. A lot of people don’t realize the talent pool out there for flyweight. You are talking about guys who have been just chomping at the bits just waiting for this to happen and they are ready to go. You think bantamweight is exciting, like that fight the other night with Cruz and Faber, well just wait til you see the flyweights out there. You haven’t seen anything yet.
Who do you think is going to move down from the UFC? From what I’ve heard, guys like Joseph Benavidez, Demetrious Johnson. Those guys what I heard. The guy named Rambo out of the Philippines, so many guys from Japan. Da Silva, Ian McCall. All of these guys, any one of them could be the number one 125 pounder in the world. At 125 pounds there is one thing you are going to get and that is guys who are athletic. They aren’t 125 cause they are little, they can also make the weight because they are athletic. So these guys are gonna go out there and scrap. It’s hard to hold down someone as a 125 pound fighter. It’s going to be awesome, I have full intentions of going out there and being a top guy, I think I can be beat at that weight.
Do you know about an official time frame that you should be ready for this? Well Dana publicly announced it at UFC uh Seattle? I think signings are going to happen around the November or December time frame. There is so much going on in the UFC who knows when it will become a reality, but I have two fights before then so I have another match under my belt. That’s my goal that’s what I’m shooting for. I think it is within my grasp.
Now you were 11-0 with a combination of very heavy hands and killer submission skills, then you got a loss. Is the old adage about learning more from a loss than a win true?
Yeah you always here that and it couldn’t have been more true in my case. I went ten years without really being challenged, no disrespect to my opponents but I just never have been in the division that I was in at Bellator vs Zach Makovsky
. For the first time ever in competition I had my back on the mat. I was never, ever in a position where I had submission attacks put on me. You never know how you are going to react, I am very actively and physically fit person, but I never really knew until after that fight where I walked away after three rounds with one of the best bantamweights in the world and I feel great. We went really hard and I could do five more rounds. For me that put one of the things that was in the back of my head to bed. What I could do in the gym I could do in the ring. I could escape subs I could take a punch, when you are on a hot streak you don’t get tested and people look at you like you have a lot of confidence but sometimes it works backwards, you don’t know how you will react in certain positions. So I was there, I reacted to it and I didn’t win but I felt great and I felt I put on an exciting fight and I put on a good performance.
What weight do you walk around at? Normally, uh 148. When I hit 148 I try to bring it back down, that’s my milestone.
You said once that if you could, you would have everyone in the world training BJJ. Can you explain that further?
I think it’s a great art and if you are going to fight MMA it’s the one art you need. If you went into MMA with just boxing I would win, or just wrestling
etc. Muay Thai, you would lose. Wrestling is close but there are UFC champs that have only trained BJJ. Now I’m not saying that’s all you need, I have put just as much time into boxing and wrestling as i do into BJJ right now. But if you have to do one art that is the one to do. As far as a balance and lifestyle and a healthy lifestyle, BJJ has done and can do so much for so many people. Both mentally and for exercise. I mean BJJ is the only thing I know of that can unplug you from the world. You go running and you think about all the crap that went on at work, or different things like weight lifting. But in Jiu Jitsu you just go and it disappears, it’s real therapeutic and it has impacted so many lives in a positive way. If you are on the mat and your mind goes somewhere else your partner will be on you.
In wrestling vs BJJ, it seems like wrestling has dominated the 10 point must system…
It has! Wrestling has really found it’s way in the sport and guys have really found a way to use it in the sport, its very effective. I’m the first guy to say, I am a BJJ black belt
and I am a huge fan of BJJ as a sport and lifestyle, that said I have trained wrestling very hard for this fight. I have worked an extensive amount of wrestling in this last year, particular greco and freestyle. Because of the wrestling I have improved my BJJ and boxing. The mental game in this sport is wrestling, if you can’t bring the fight to where it’s going to go then it’s pointless. You have to be prepared. Dictating where the fight goes is in control and wrestling will do that. I wanted to show off my wrestling in my last match but Zach wouldn’t let me do that. He is one of the best wrestlers in MMA and I didn’t want to shoot a double on him haha.
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