Hope came after living in the favelas
Wanderson Barcelos came out of an environment full of poverty in Rio de Janeiro and built an inspiring career path, which today leads him into the HEXAGONE MMA cage. The objective is to make his fists speak, and shine on a beautiful European scene.
After having received, Wanderson Barcelos now wishes to give in return. Originally from an underprivileged neighborhood of Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian has dodged life’s obstacles thanks to the engagement in martial arts, and aspires to show the way to new generations. “When I was a kid, a UFC legend, Minotauro, created an association to help young people who lived in the favelas. It helped me, it inspired me, and today I’m doing the same thing, at my own scale,” explained the 29-year-old fighter, who’s still anchored to his hometown. It is necessary to say that “the life is rather difficult” in the hills of Rio. “There is a lot of poverty, and teenagers don’t know many other means than selling drugs to get out of it. It’s terrible, because we could be doing so many great things!” Wanderson Barcelos, for his part, turned into sports: boxing, Muay Thai, MMA… Until he finally launched himself into a professional career.
“I feel like a role model for young people
“At the beginning, many of my relatives told me it was a stupid choice. Since I come from a very humble place, usually people go into safer and higher paying jobs to bring food to the table. But today, I feel like I am a role model for young people, I am proud of what I have accomplished.” Indeed, less than a decade after his debut in a ring, Wanderson Barcelos has managed to raise his profile in Brazil, in order to offer himself a first stepping stone to Europe. “Since MMA is growing in France, it’s very exciting to go and fight there now. I want to take advantage of the opportunity and be a part of that process.” As usual, it is with his fists that the Brazilian intends to stand out. He describes himself as “a pure striker with a big K-O power”. The opportunity remains to be seized.