“We lived on the bare minimum” - Cleber Sousa fondly recalls difficult, but happy childhood

Cleber Sousa [Photo Credits: @cleberclandestino on Instagram]
Cleber Sousa [Photo Credits: @cleberclandestino on Instagram]

Brazilian submission grappler Cleber Sousa will compete in one of three massive world title fights at ONE on Prime Video 2 on September 30th. Not only does ‘Clandestino’ have the chance to become a ONE world champion, but he also has the opportunity to be the first world champion of his kind inside the Circle.

Meeting Sousa will meet grappling sensation Mikey Musumeci. The two will go to battle to become the first-ever ONE flyweight submission grappling world champion. Before looking towards making history in U.S. primetime, Cleber Sousa looked back at his childhood in a recent interview with ONE Championship.

Living with his single mother and a number of siblings, Sousa recalls the financial difficulties, but also notes that he had a happy childhood with a loving mother.

“Despite all the difficulties, I was a very happy child. I am the son of a single mother, and I have always lived with my mother, who raised me and my brothers alone. My mother had seven children and adopted two more. She had a very big heart.”

As his siblings grew older, they began to help out financially, but his family largely lived off of the bare necessities to get by.

“After we got older, my brothers and I started helping with the household expenses, but there was no money left for anything. We lived on the bare minimum.

Cleber Sousa also recalled regularly playing barefoot in the streets with friends.

“I always had many friends at school and on the street where I lived. I liked to play in the street. I walked barefoot all day chasing kites. I was a street kid [laughs].”

Cleber Sousa and Mikey Musumeci have crossed paths before

Five years ago, Clever Sousa and Mikey Musumeci met as part of the 2017 IBJJF Pan American Championship quarterfinals. Already, world champions in the brown belt category, ‘Clandestino’ and ‘Darth Rigatoni’ were two of the most promising young black belts in the competition. Sousa earned a decision victory over Musumeci after a closely contested back-and-forth battle.

The second time the two squared off, it was part of the 2017 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship. This time, Musumeci’s offense was enough to overwhelm Sousa, earning the victory and putting their rivalry and one match apiece.

The two grapplers will get the chance to complete their long-awaited trilogy inside the Circle, with the winner taking home the first-ever ONE submission grappling world championship.

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Edited by C. Naik
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