Most women at the ADCC tournament have had over a decade of Brazilian jiu-jitsu training, but sometimes natural talent can fast track a fighter to the top of the game. This can be said of Hillary Williams.
Being in the sport for only four years, Williams, only a purple belt in bjj, won the North American trials for the ADCC. On “Sportsgeeks”, Williams talked about her fast rise to the top of the bjj world and how she is preparing for the ADCC tournament. Williams recalls winning the trails and getting the offer to compete in Barcelona.
“The first thing I did when I won the match and I realized it was the finals, I looked over at my coach who has been of course screaming at me. And I was like ‘Did you see that?’” Williams remembers. “I couldn’t believe it. And even with that it was still kind of ‘Hey you know, that’s cool.’ About four weeks or so ago, I received this e-ticket in my e-mail that said you are gonna go from Little Rock to Barcelona on the 23rd, and that’s when it really hit me. Like ‘Holy crap! This is for real. I am going to go to the most prestigious tournament in the world. It’s so weird. It will probably hit me when I get there.”
Williams admits that her hometown of Little Rock, AK is in the middle of no where when it came to competing in martial arts. Plus women fighters were very rare. Her competitive drive, however, didn’t let her dreams stop there.
“There were very, very rarely any women. It was just so no existent here. So, I would drive seven eight hours one way to get to a tournament and there would be no women,” Williams stated. “I don’t wanna go there and accept a medal I didn’t compete for. So I said, ‘Go ahead and throw me in the guys division.’ It wasn’t like ‘Oooo I can beat guys.’ It was just I want some matches. And then it turned out half the time I could show that technique triumphed over strength. And the other half of the time, I met someone just as technical and stronger and they exposed some holes and gave me something to work on back in the gym. So it was good for me either way.”
Williams will have the toughest opponents in her career in Barcelona, including Luanna Alzuguir, Kyra Gracie, Ina Steffensen, Laurence Cousin, Michelle Tavares, Megumi Fujii, and Sayaka Shioda. Williams says it is a really honor and win, lose or draw, she will enjoy the ride.
“I am really, really excited. These are girls I used to look on youtube and be like ‘I wanna have that game.’ I used to idealistically look into the future to compete with them and now it’s going to happen. I am very, very excited about it.”