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'Buchecha' explains how parents taught him to succeed: 'Insist, persist, never give up'

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend-turned-MMA rising star credits his mother and father before returning to action on May 20.

Having a strong support system can be the difference between success and failure, and Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida feels very fortunate that two important people have always had his back.

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu icon – who returns to MMA action at "ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot" on May 20 – credits his mother and father for being his greatest sources of inspiration and encouragement.

For years, "Buchecha" saw the lengths they went to in order to ensure their children had the best possible start in life, and he believes that foundation gave him the chance to achieve greatness. 

"My biggest role models in life were my parents," the Sao Paulo native said. "My father and mother always worked hard and did everything to give the best for me and my sister. And thanks to the support I've had from them throughout my life, I've managed to focus 100 percent on the sport (of Brazilian jiu-jitsu) and become who I have become. 

"If it weren't for them, I certainly wouldn't be here today. They were and always will be the biggest role models in my life."

Not every aspiring martial artist is fortunate to have parents who encourage them to pursue a career in combat sports. In fact, it's the opposite for many families given the tough nature of the path.

However, "Buchecha" never experienced this hurdle.

His father was an avid Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner and recognized the benefits of training and competing. Plus, he and his wife wanted their son to follow his passion with full commitment – and that ultimately led to 17 world titles.

"The biggest lesson I learned from (my parents) was to insist, persist, never give up, fight for my goals, and chase my dreams," the heavyweight star said. "This willpower I have, I learned from them. I learned to run after things from an early age. 

"That was the biggest lesson I learned from them. No matter what the dream is, do your best and dedicate yourself 100 percent. This is the formula for success."

Work ethic led 'Buchecha' to perfect MMA start

Almeida conquered the grappling world with the help of his parents, and now, he’s applying that same intensity to his quest for mixed martial arts greatness. 

Training out of the renowned American Top Team in Florida, the Brazilian has surrounded himself with some of the best coaches and athletes in the world – and that approach is clearly paying dividends. 

"Buchecha" debuted in MMA at "ONE: Revolution" last September and submitted veteran kickboxing star Anderson "Braddock" Silva in round one. 

Next, he stopped the rise of South Korean juggernaut Kang Ji Won with another first-round submission at "ONE: Winter Warriors" in December. 

The 32-year-old won’t get ahead of himself – even while fans and pundits are calling him a potential ONE heavyweight world title challenger in the near future – but he's becoming more self-assured with each outing.

"Getting victories over athletes of this caliber was very good for me, for my career, and also to increase my confidence because they are very tough," he said. "Both of them have a lot of knockouts in their careers, so this was really good to boost my confidence and start off on the right foot in this new sport."

After such an impressive start to life in mixed martial arts, it looks like the sky is the limit for Almeida.

With each passing day, he's becoming more well-rounded and attuned to his new field of combat.

And following his dream start last year, "Buchecha" thinks the rest of 2022 will offer up exciting opportunities to showcase his progression inside the ONE circle.

"My 2021 in MMA was perfect," he added. "I have nothing to complain about. I had two fights, I got two wins in the first round, so it was really good because I felt I'm on the right track. 

"The training is perfect, I can see that I am improving daily, and I hope that 2022 will be even better."

This story first published at ONEFC.com.