Most of the students at Ivey League MMA know this guy, he’s been here many times to train and teach seminars. His name is Dan “Micro” Faggella, AKA The Giant Killer! Haha I’ve called him that for a while because he always beats these bigger (much bigger) opponents using his unique style of what he calls “little Man” BJJ. What is it that makes this man tick? Well, lets find out from the man himself. Below is an interview with Micro.
Dan, When did you start training?
“I began training under Mat Santos in Cranston, Rhode Island in late 2005.”
What makes your BJJ different from the rest?
“I think what makes my game different is my emphasis on movement. As a smaller guy (133 lbs) I’ve had to learn to beat bigger grapplers with technique, strategy, and using movement to my advantage. I avoid stagnant positions and fight for opportunities to use deception and speed – that’s the only way I can survive and thrive competing against people twice my size. In addition, I watch a lot of lightweight grappling matches, and have a good understanding of what makes the little-guy grappling game different (through watching a lot of footage and privately training under many of the best lightweight BJJ players in the world). This gives me an advantage when I’m fighting other small guys as well.
Who influences your game?
“I have a lot of influences on my game – beginning with my instructor, ADCC World Champion Alexandre Soca. Have also trained with a lot of the best smaller grapplers in the world, including Caio Terra, Ryan Hall, Ricky Lundell, and more. I also do a lot of interviews with light weight grapplers who have given me a ton of insight as well, including Joe Capizzi, Sim Go, black belt no gi world champion Justin Raider, and others. My biggest mentors other than Soca are Joe Lauzon – who has always been tremendously kind to me and has taught me a lot, and Danny Ives, who is a team Lloyd Irvin black belt and probably the biggest technical contributor to my style. I also almost religiously watch Rafa Mendes and Cobrinha.”
How do you do so well against this big monsters on the mat?
“First and foremost I like to take initiative and start the fight at my pace. The more I can keep big guys on their heels the less they can squash me. From studying the best small grapplers I understand which attacks and transitions are statistically most likely to work against people who are bigger and stronger, and by keeping my own pace, keeping space to use my speed, and using the techniques most likely to work – I’m able to stick it out with a lot of the bigger fellows.”
(Here is a video of “Micro” using his “small-man Jiu Jitsu” to beat a giant in 12 seconds…)
You’re coming up with a series called “Micro BJJ,” what is the biggest reason people should check this series out?
“Man, I’m so excited about this. The fact of the matter is, there is NOTHING in the BJJ world specifically for showing smaller grapplers how to win. Little guys everywhere are hungry to learn how to beat bigger guys and dominate the lightweight divisions – but nobody has done the research until now. The biggest reason to check out this series is to learn the research behind what wins lightweight BJJ matches, and also what techniques and strategies are 100% necessary for not getting squashed by bigger guys. Its a science and an art, and I think as a competitor, researcher, and someone who’s been lucky enough to personally interview and train under a lot of the greatest ‘giant killers’ in the BJJ universe – I’m going to shine a lot of light on how to let technique prevail for the tons of smaller guys out there.”