AUSTIN (KXAN) —Born and raised in Brazil, Joel Adan never imagined that he’d be living in the United States. 

“I wouldn’t believe it. [Living in the USA]” Adan said. “The first time I came to Texas, I loved it and I wanted to stay here forever, to be honest.”

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Fighteria Academy, the gym that Adan helps operate and trains at, hosts some of the best Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes and up-and-coming MMA fighters in the country.

Last year, at just 26 years old, Adan earned a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, a tremendous accomplishment for someone his age.

He also was the winner of the 2021 NAGA Lone Star Championship,

Despite being one of the most talented and accomplished Brazilian jiu-jitsu athletes in Texas, Adan has had his fair share of battles in and out of the arena. 

He told us how difficult learning English was for him, but his love for the state of Texas and his lifestyle as a full-time athlete and trainer fueled his determination to embrace himself as the little fish in a big pond. 

Yet his battles aren’t all he’s concerned about, and his journey is one that inspires many, as he fulfills his own version of the American dream.

“Life is going to hit you hard but you cannot give up, you’ve got to adjust yourself,” Adan explained. “Every single moment, doesn’t matter if it’s happy or sad, you just have to find the balance and be grateful for everything.”

Though he takes as much pride in helping those grow in the discipline around him, as cares just as much about his own individual success in the art.