I was born in Lisbon, Portugal in 1985. However, my parents migrated to Australia in 1987 so that my sister and I could have a better life.
My father had done some Judo training in Portugal; and soon after we moved to Werribee in Victoria, the local Judo club was featured in the local newspaper. Dad wanted to get fit so he went down to the club. He soon found out they had a kids program and decided that my sister and I were better off learning Judo then sitting at home running amuck (Judo class was also cheaper than a babysitter, but he denies this was the reason).
Throughout my childhood I had a lot to deal with: I was the foreign kid whose lunch smelled different; the kid whose name no-one could pronounce; and the kid who in Grade 6 weighed barely 30 kg. There were plenty of rough times, but throughout it all Judo was where I escaped to. I trained and trained, and as a result became bigger, fitter, stronger and more confident.
Judo has not only given me fighting skills, it has taught me the value of hard work, respect, determination, mutual benefit and the bond between team-mates and coaches.
Throughout my younger years I was able to compete at National level and medaled every year including 3 Junior National Titles. Within the first year of senior competition I was able to achieve a national ranking and represent my country internationally for the first time.
In 2007, aged 21, I won my first Senior National Championship and went on to participate in the World Championships - where I placed 11th, winning two fights and losing two.
Between 2008 and 2011, I won the Senior Oceania Championship three times, another national title, two bronze Commonwealth medals, two World Cup Medals, as well as making the finals of two European events.
I train and coach out of Evolve MMA in Thomastown. I also train extensively at Dominance MMA under the guidance of Daniel Kelly and Maria Pekli.
Currently I train between 20 and 22 hours per week, with my focus firmly on winning gold at Glasgow 2014 and winning World Championships in MMA