Q and A with Grappling World Champion Ricky Lundell

By Jason Townsend | May 08, 2008, 9:32 a.m. (ET)
After becoming a U.S. Grappling World Team member, by winning one of the toughest weight classes of the U.S. World Team Trials, Brazilian Jiu-jitsu black belt Ricky Lundell set his sights on World domination in Antalya, Turkey. He faced many tough competitors and fellow black belts from around the world on his way to the gold medal. He dismantled his opponents with precision, one of the most impressive performances in the tournament.

After such great performances you might wonder what is left for the Grappling prodigy but for Ricky Lundell. The answer is a quest for more gold.

TheMat.com: What are you doing this year to prepare for the FILA Grappling World Championships?
Lundell: I have really started to focus on my wrestling and takedowns, I have been training a ton of wrestling with my coaches Brandon Guzzo and Sam Allen. I am wrestling for an hour and a half every morning of the week. I really want to dominate in all aspects of Grappling not just the ground game.

I am also trying to put on some weight for the 154-pound weight class, I was a little small last year and this year I want to be better equipped for that weight class. I am doing a lot of heavy plyometric and explosiveness training to go with my wrestling and jiu-jitsu.

TheMat.com:The returning World Team Trials Champions get an automatic spot at this year's World Team Trials. How will you use this to your advantage?
Lundell: I think this will benefit me by allowing me to focus on intense training instead of qualifying. I will be able to stay healthier by not having to compete and risk injury.

TheMat.com: Who will you be training with during the next several months to help prepare you for the World Team Trials?
Lundell: I am working on setting up some jiu-jitsu training with Jeff Glover and Bill Cooper on several occasions. Also, I will be cross training with a host of college wrestlers and grappling competitors. I made it out to Denver, Colorado to train with Malcolm Havens at Sheldon Marr's Grappler's Edge Academy.

I was sick for three weeks with a bronchial infection and I am just starting to get back into gear with training regularly. I lost my voice totally and spent the better part of three weeks trying to get healthy again. It motivated me because I got tired of not being able to train the way I wanted to, so it is nice to be back at full speed.

TheMat.com:Are there any particular athletes that you would like to see at your weight class this year at the World Team Trials?
Lundell: I would really like to compete against Jeff Glover and Alberto Crane again, it will always be a great match that really tests my abilities. Shane Rice and Scott Bieri would also be great matches for me. Scott Bieri was in my bracket last year but I didn't get a chance to compete against them. I really want a crack at a high level wrestler- like an NCAA champion or All-American. I want to win and know I went against the best guys. With these rules I think I am the best at this weight class. I know I will have to compete at my best to win again this year.

TheMat.com: What is your biggest strength as an athlete?
Lundell: Confidence. I know my ability, my mind and body are healthy and I know there is no one at my weight that I can't beat on any given day. I have been and continue to train hard and I am extremely confident in myself on the mat.