Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida is one of the greatest Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors of all time, and his career has inspired many of the biggest stars in martial arts
But he's already a 17-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion who's ruled the grappling discipline since way back in 2011.
For many of those years, Reinier de Ridder was one of the up-and-coming competitors who greatly admired the Brazilian.
"The Dutch Knight" is now a two-division ONE world champion in MMA – largely due to his black belt grappling skills – and he recently revealed that Almeida was one of his biggest influences.
Humbled by that information, "Buchecha" said:
"I felt blessed to hear that from him because he's one of the guys that I look up to in MMA. So when I found out that he also looks up to me, it was like, 'Oh, my God, (I'm) really, really honored.'"
These days, "Buchecha" is chasing his own dreams in mixed martial arts and developing his game at American Top Team in Florida as he aims to become a world champion in the all-around sport.
It's been a successful switch so far, as the Brazilian is 3-0 with a trio of first-round finishes. And he recently trained with de Ridder when "The Dutch Knight" traveled to the United States for some one-on-one work.
After returning home, de Ridder called it "a big honor" to learn from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend – but the respect was mutual.
Almeida is hoping to follow in de Ridder's footsteps in ONE, and he was motivated by the time spent with the two-division titleholder on the mats.
"The training was really great, actually. It was amazing to train with him because he's coming from a grappling background, and you see how he used his jiu-jitsu.
"I want to use my jiu-jitsu as he used his in his fights in his career. So that was really inspiring for me and a great opportunity. It was amazing the way that he trains, the way that he felt the game. It was great for me, not just to train but to learn a lot with him."
This story first published at ONEFC.com.