Sousa vs Musumeci
ONE Championship
27-year-old Cleber Sousa will step onto the global stage for the first time in ONE Championship on Friday, September 30, at ONE on Prime Video 2: Xiong vs. Lee III. The Brazilian will have a chance to capture the inaugural ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Championship against a familiar foe, Mikey Musumeci.

However, getting to this moment in his career was not easy. Sousa was not blessed with a privileged upbringing, having fought through poverty and heartbreak on his road toward the top.

One of seven children, with an additional two adopted children, Sousa praised his mother’s big heart in a recent interview with ONE. The Sao Paulo native began helping with expenses as he and his siblings got older, but there was never any leftover money for anything else. It was a constant struggle for the self-proclaimed “street kid.”

But when a cousin brought him to the Almeida Jiu-Jitsu social project, his life was forever changed through the grappling art.

“As soon as I arrived at the project, I immediately went to play ‘pass the teacher’s guard.’ Even without understanding anything, I put my fight instinct out and just went for it (laughs). I did my best even without any technique. In the first classes, I already fell in love with jiu-jitsu, and I never stopped training,” said Sousa.

“In jiu-jitsu, you have to overcome yourself every day. When I started participating in competitions, I fell even more in love with this sport.”

In 2021, tragedy struck the family as they lost their matriarch. Although the loss of his mother weighed heavy on his heart, Sousa credited the BJJ community for being there to help him heal.

“[God] comforted my heart, and I made room for that to happen. He put good friends around me to give me good advice, especially my jiu-jitsu family. I opened my heart and faced this whole situation like a good fighter in life that I am,” said Sousa.

Now Sousa stands on the precipice of the mountaintop. He is one win away from claiming a ONE World Title on a massive platform. It is an opportunity that is not lost on Sousa, who credited ONE for elevating the sport to new heights.

A victory would be life-changing, and Sousa is ready to try and stymie the rise of Musumeci to claim the sport’s biggest prize to date.

“[Winning the ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Title] would undoubtedly be the pinnacle of my career and would change my professional and personal life,” said Sousa.

“After everything I’ve been through in life, it would be a dream come true.”

ONE on Prime Video 2 airs live on Friday, September 30, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT.

Cleber Sousa on Instagram:

Mikey Musumeci STUNNED Grappling Legend Masakazu Imanari 🤯

Before five-time BJJ World Champion Mikey Musumeci goes to war with Cleber Sousa for the inaugural ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Title on Septembe...

Introducing Martial Arts School Listings on Black Belt Mag!
Sign Up Now To Be One Of The First School Listed In Our Database.
SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the worlds largest magazine of martial arts.