Brad "Abu Dhabi" Barnett


Full Name Brad Barnett
Nick Name Abu Dhabi
Class Lightweight
Weight 165lbs
Rank Purple Belt
Height 5’5”
Association Lucas Lepri Brazilian Jui Jitsu


Brad Barnett is a Brazilian jiu jitsu purple belt. His nickname at the gym is Abu Dhabi, because Brad treats every training session as if he were in the Abu Dhabi world finals. It is also because it has been a dream of his to compete in the Abu Dhabi world professional jiu jitsu championship. He trains under Lucas Lepri, six time world champion black belt, with team Alliance-Charlotte in North Carolina.

Brad works part-time to help support his jiu jitsu and teaches Brazilian jiu jitsu at Atlantic MMA in Hickory, NC. Atlantic MMA is also a Lucas Lepri affiliate. Brad trains six days a week: twice a day Monday through Friday, and once on Saturday. On Monday and Wednesday nights he trains while he coaches his students at Atlantic MMA.

Brad has many self-imposed goals. In ascertaining these goals he applies intensity and focus to everything he does whether it is on or off the mats. Reaching black belt status is one of the highest goals he has, but just as important to him is the ability to enjoy the journey that will lead him to that moment. Once he receives his black belt the journey begins anew.  Brad hopes to compete as much as he can in order to become a world champion and to be able to do jui jistu into his golden years, always learning and always teaching. 


Q&A Session Between Brad Barnett and Elite Sports

Question: What inspires you about BJJ?

Answer: BJJ has this way of bringing people from different walks of life together for one goal, to be better. You can walk into any gym and be surrounded by people who normally would not associate with one another but because of Jiu Jitsu they have a uniting factor. Although their personal goals may be different they are all there for their love of Jiu Jitsu and think that is amazing.

Question: Who inspires you, past or present? Why do they inspire you?

Answer: My biggest inspiration in Jiu Jitsu has been my cousin, Adam. He is the reason I got into Jiu Jitsu. We were both in terrible shape and he decided to join a Jiu Jitsu gym. In one year he leaned out and it completely changes his life. As I saw him slowly progress I told myself that I had to join. So, I did.

Question: What are your goals for this year? Next 3 years? Next 5 years?

Answer: My goals for 2017: 1. I recently received my purple belt, so my main goal is to compete as much as possible. Shortly after receiving my purple belt, I began teaching classes. Teaching has been a major goal of mine since I received my blue belt. I am training hard and going for gold as I endeavor to compete in Pans and Worlds. I also am training to win one of the Abu Dhabi trial tournaments.

My Goals for the next 3 years: 1. In the next three years I want to continue to teach and get my name out in the BJJ community as much as possible. I will continue to compete and train hard to win as many gold metals as possible from any and all tournaments. I also hope within the net three years that my Jiu Jitsu will progress enough to earn a brown belt.

My Goals for the next 5 years: 1. I hope to have two world titles and be in the process of opening my own gym. I also hope to have my black belt. Then the journey begins all over.

Question: How long have you been training?

Answer: It has been 4.5 years since I began Jiu Jitsu.

Question: How often do you train?

Answer: I train twice a day on weekdays. Once on Saturdays and use Sunday as active recovery days.

Question: Any major accomplishments you’ve been able to achieve in that time?

Receiving my purple belt from lightweight world champion, Lucas Lepri is at the top of my current lists of accomplishments. But, becoming a BJJ instructor is probably the biggest accomplishment that I have achieved on this journey.

Question: Do you have a go-to finishing move?

Answer: I don’t have any one move as an anchor in my arsenal. I try to compliment my competitor’s game. I believe you have to analyze what your opponent is doing and make your decision from there. That being said, I am partial to finishing from the back or executing a lapel choke from side control.

Question: What sort of gear do you usually keep in your gym bag before hitting the gym? Do you have different items for specific days?

Answer: Everyday before heading to the gym I always make sure I have My BJJ gi or no gi shorts, BJJ belt, rash guard, Compression shorts, a towel for after my shower, Tape to tape my hands, Knee brace, Flip flops.

Question: What do you think it takes to be a champion in your sports?

Answer: There is no secret to becoming a champion. It takes dedication and hard work. You also have to have to believe in yourself and your abilities. You are your toughest opponent.