Wagner Moura, a fellow Salvador native and one of Brazil’s most popular actors, wanted to train.
The star of Narcos and Elite Squad, Moura is a purple belt in jiu-jitsu and reached out to Almeida’s physical therapist about training with “Malhadinho” during a recent visit to Salvador. The connection was then made, and Moura and Almeida hit the mats on Oct. 5.
“He texted me saying his friend Wagner was a fan of mine and wanted to train, so I was like, ‘Sure, tell him to stop by for our gi session on Thursday,’” Almeida said on MMA Fighting’s Trocação Franca podcast. “He sent me Wagner Moura’s number and I didn’t pay attention to the last name. He texted me the day before to confirm and I’m like, ‘Sure, all good.’
“I’m putting the gi on in the gym and all of a sudden my friend Samuel looks over and says, ‘Hey, it’s Colonel Nascimento!’ I thought he was joking with a friend of something, and then my coach Yuri Moura said, ‘Man, it’s Wagner Moura!’ Holy f***, man. I was texting Wagner Moura on WhatsApp and thought it was just a regular person! [Laughs.]”
Almeida and Moura sat down on the mats and chatted before the session began, and the UFC fighter said that Moura told him, “I just wanted to come here to meet your gym and meet you in person, and thank you for taking the name of Bahia to the world.”
“F***, I was so happy,” Almeida said. “A movie star went there to watch me train. That’s so gratifying. Never in a million years I thought that would happen. Really, I never imagined all of this happening in my life, all this hype in the UFC, but I always tell people that I remain the same person and same character because it all goes away so fast. We have to leave a legacy. We don’t know what tomorrow will bring. To hear that from a movie icon, an exceptional actor, was very special.”
The UFC heavyweight said that Moura has very efficient spider guard and x guard, and can take your back in the blink of an eye.
“We trained and he said, ‘Man, this place is so hot,’” Almeida said with a laugh. “‘You’re all crazy. This place feels like a sauna. Your training is like no other.’”
This story originally appeared on MMA fighting