BJJ Legends: Let start from the beginning of your journey to the podium, talk to us a little about your overall training for the Pan American Championships?
Jared Dopp: The training was intense. Like I said before, we only have class 2 or 3 times a week so I make the best out of it. I followed a strict strength & conditioning program that required me to be in the weight room 6 days a week, which I attribute a lot of my success to. I actually hurt my right knee practicing judo about 3 weeks out but it healed up just in time.
BJJ Legends: Now in terms of your travels to Lovato’s school, how important is it for you to keep that connection in hopes of progressing as a grappler?
Jared Dopp: In my opinion, there is no other way for me to progress as a grappler. The highest rank at our school in Wichita Falls is blue belt, and there are four blue belts with a few white belts. We have no chance of expanding our knowledge or evolving our game without periodic trips to see Rafael.
BJJ Legends:How did you feel going into the event?
Jared Dopp: The knee injury actually slowed down my workouts for a few days and made the weight cut a little harder than normal, but other than that I felt confident and was in great mental/physical condition.
BJJ Legends: As you progressed in each round during the regular and open weight division what would you say was your motivational drive to push you through each difficult encounter?
Jared Dopp: I am a very driven individual and I absolutely hate losing, so I will push myself to the limit in order to walk away with my hand raised. I really just wanted to prove to myself and everyone that this is where I belong. It was time for me to put the haters to rest and I was willing to go through the pain and exhaustion to do it.
BJJ Legends: Now double medaling at the Pan Ams is a big accomplishment. What would you say is the biggest contribution toward you winning and why?
Jared Dopp: Hard work and the will to win. I am always working on technique and trying to improve my game but there is no substitute for hard work. I honestly don't feel that I was more technical than most the guys, I just wanted it more.
BJJ Legends: What are some of your future goals you wish to accomplish in martial arts and how do plan on accomplishing them?
Jared Dopp: I want to be at the top competing with the best in the world. It would be amazing to compete against guys like Rodolfo, Roger, Braulio, Rustam, etc. while we are still in our prime. I plan on following the same path of outworking all my opponents, but I'll soon be moving to OKC to train at Lovato's full-time so I will be improving every day. I also want to get back into MMA and see if there is a future for me in the cage or not.
BJJ Legends: Finally what does being a champion mean to Jared Dopp?
Jared Dopp: It's everything I've ever worked for. I've accomplished a lot of things through athletics but nothing has ever been so sweet. Now I have to stay humble and keep working hard so I can continue to win, and one day be counted among the best in the sport.
BJJ Legends: Is there anyone you would like to thank before we wrap up this interview?
Jared Dopp: I'd like to thank Professor Lovato and the entire Ribeiro/Lovato association for the knowledge and support. Professor Lovato is an amazing instructor and it makes things so much easier having him in my corner. I'd also like to thank Luke Tirey for the awesome strength programming that made all the difference and 1914 kimonos, if you haven't heard of them yet you will soon!
Thank you for your time and the interview Jared, from all of us at BJJ Legends, Jiu-Jitsu Magazine