Felipe Pena was just named athlete of the year for 2014, by Jits Magazine in their latest issue. Jits Magazine, a Canadian-based periodical that releases quarterly print and electronic magazines. They focus on the culture surrounding Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and are constantly releasing material in the form of videos and mini-articles online.
The honor of athlete of the year from Jits Magazine is a big one, and Pena is extremely deserving. With the nickname “Preguiça” (meaning “lazy” or literally, “sloth”) it’s easy to brush him off if you’ve never heard of him.
Pena’s competition history has always been solid. As a purple and brown belt, he won IBJJF world titles. However, he really hit the map once he competed at Copa Podio against Leandro Lo. At the time, Pena was still a brown belt and had been invited to compete against black belts as a wild card.
As many know, brown belts who compete well often go on to compete well at the black belt level as well. When Pena and Lo competed, they fought to a draw (Lo a black belt already). They had a rematch at a later Copa Podio event in which Lo defeated Pena (who had been promoted to a black belt) with a guard pass as the match was winding down. That first match between the two though was what brought Pena recognition among the BJJ elite.
Pena has been competing in a weight class above what he actually ought to for some time now. He weighs-in as a medium-heavy competitor but competes at heavyweight to avoid clashing with his teammates and even his coach in competition.
One of his world championship victories comes over Andre Galvao. Previously, Galvao had defeated him in Pan Ams on points. Pena’s victory also came via points, just enough to give him the victory.
For a man that began Jiu-Jitsu in order to lose weight, Pena has come a very long way. He is still young and looking forward to competing even more. We here at Jiu-Jitsu Times are looking forward to seeing what he has to offer in the coming years. As for what he is looking forward to, he tells Jits Magazine that he would be interested in a match with Keenan Cornelius. We have to admit, we would like to see it happen.