When you look up “bad ass” in the jiu-jitsu dictionary, you will see a picture of Lana Stefanac. She will be the first to admit that she isn’t the most technical or the most talented woman in jiu-jitsu, but with 155 wins and no losses in her gi jiu-jitsu record, and a 130-3 no-gi record, the title is deserved.
Stefanac has a huge challenge ahead of her. Like a scene from one of those martial arts movies we all know and love, she has been invited to an exclusive tournament. The best of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners were invited to compete in the annual ADCC (Abu Dhabi) tournament in Barcelona. To be picked is an honor in itself, and placing there is equitant to a gold medal in the Olympics. The list of competitors include Penny Thomas, Shanti Abelha, Ida Hansson, Rosângela Conceição, Hitomi Hiraiwa, Hannette Quadros Staack, and the hottest name in mma right now Cyborg Santos. Stefanac sees a possible match with Cyborg in the first round, but doesn’t seem to be too worried.
“I don’t see her as ‘oh my god – that’s the girl I gotta watch out for.’ No. This tournament is the best of the best,” Stefanac said on a recent episode of Sportsgeeks. “I am not saying anything bad about her. The girl has all my respect in the world. But this isn’t MMA. To my knowledge she is very, very strong. I trained with a black belt who actually trained her in Brazil. I know she is a pretty good purple belt. That’s no joke at all. To say I am worried about her, no. I hope I get her the first match out.”
However there is one match-up she hopes she gets.
“The only (non-gi loss) I haven’t really avenged is Penny Thomas,” Stefanac commented. “I like that girl. She is really good. She’s a great fighter. She’s super technical. I’ll get her in Abu Dhabi more than likely.”
Being the biggest competitor in the tournament would seem to be an advantage, but Stefanac reminds us that it’s not the size of the dog in the fight, but the size of the fight in the dog.
“The toughest girl I fought (was in the World Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Championship in Mundial) and I am not kidding, she came to the top of my boobs,” Stefanac admits. “(Ana Carolina) Vidal, this is Royler (Gracie’s) girl. And that was the toughest fight I had in the whole tournament. People went ‘Oh you beat Kyra (Gracie)! You beat Luciana Dias! You beat this girl, you beat that girl.’ Yeah, but what stands out in my mind is when I can’t close my guard on someone, that scares me. When someone pulls out of my guard and I have their collar and they rip my hand because she pulled up so hard and postured up so hard she tore the skin off my hands. That was scary.”
Stefanac says anything can happen in the tournament and can’t predict what will happen. The only clear prediction is the tournament will be exciting and a roller coaster ride.