There are just some people in this world that are destined for greatness and Maggie Grindatti is definitely one of them. Her rise to fame in the the Jiu Jitsu world has been both fast and furious. She has torn thru one tournament after another collecting gold medals all along the way. Destroying the competition and yet remaining humble. Through her short but very full Jiu Jitsu journey over the last five years Maggie has not only rose from white to black, won countless championships and super fights but she has also found the love of her life. Maggie truly living in a Jiu Jitsu fairy tale.
How did you get involved in BJJ? What drew you to the art?
My uncle Tjay Thompson has been promoting MMA for YEARS and has always been, like a father to me, always pushing me. He originally had me start with MMA which of course Jiu Jitsu comes along with, but after competing my first IBJJF tournament I knew that was exactly what I wanted to do. I just love the more relaxed lifestyle about it and of course the individuality. I have been a team athlete (including division 1) my entire life so being able to rely solely on myself, when it comes to the actually fight, I enjoy.
Since 2016 you’ve won every gi and no-gi championship at all belt levels. Do you feel any pressure to continue on with this performance going into your black belt competition career?
I fight because I love it. And because I feel no pressure. Jiu Jitsu doesn’t pay my bills. I am a coach that’s my career. This sport I do solely for the need to compete. I actually only felt pressure for the first time at no-gi worlds this year. Not for anything but myself and knowing I wouldn’t have another chance to complete (as a brown belt), because I knew the black belt was coming. So it was more motivating than it was pressure.
As a black belt I do not feel pressure at all. Black belt is black belt. EVERYONE officially knows what their doing. haha ya know and I wouldn’t fight if it caused me stress or anxiety. I think a little pressure and nerves is good for us, but I would never do anything that mentally isn’t positive. Also the lower belts I had a time things needed to be completed in. Cyborg would hold me at every belt if I didn’t accomplish what I did. Now at black belt there is no time restraints. It’s forever.
As a new black belt what are you goals moving forward what challenges do you anticipate and how do you intend to overcome them?
My goals moving forward at least in this first year is to say YES. I have already been offered a lot of super fights and I am continuously saying yes. I started jiujitsu only five years ago so I want to fight as much as I can to see where I really am at with girls who have been doing it twice as long or longer than I have. That is my main goal is really to see where I am at at the black belt level and I intend to do so by fighting as much as possible.
You’ve recently gotten engaged followed by getting your black belt. You’re truly living a BJJ fairy tale. When you 1st started training did you ever think that you’d end up where you are now?
Only sh** no way. Hahaha it really is a fairy tale. I’ve always been super positive and have only done things that bring happiness to my life and I think that’s why things have worked out or naturally and organically. I keep my mouth shut, work hard, stay true to who I am and believe everything that happens good or bad is for a reason and that’s helped me a lot through life. Cyborg is the same way, our personalities and beliefs and goals are identical. We are both also very independent people and I think that is what brought us together not to complete each other but to take one another to the highest levels of ourselves we can be. So between finding him and accomplishing what I have, I never would of imagined it but it’s exactly what’s supposed to have played out and I will continue to be consistent with what I have been doing.
Do you have any advice to women out there that aspire to be like you?
My biggest piece of advice I can ever give anyone and the way to my success is consistency. People don’t like to be cliche but cliches are cliches for a reason. Consistency is the key to success and everything happens for a reason and things always get better. I see more than ever these days people don’t want to work hard they want instant gratification and if they don’t get it they move on to the next thing. It’s important to do what you love and commit to it. I have been in the fitness industry and known that’s what I want to do for 10 years now and JUST NOW I am seeing financial success from it and I am happy with that and it’s so much more rewarding because I know how hard I worked and that I followed my passion and and that’s what motivates me everyday to get up and do it.
Girls in Gis staff writer
Shama Ko is a brown belt world traveler. She has been a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner since November of 2003. She is a photographer, writer, community organizer and activist. She heads the Girls in Gis organization or as she calls it the “movement”. She describes herself as both a lover and a fighter. She loves to laugh and not take life too seriously.