Kingz Athlete Spotlight: Rosa Walsh-McCann
For decades, we’ve seen the sport of Brazilian jiu-jitsu dominated largely by Brazilian and American athletes, but in the last several years there has been a surge of talent arising from the European continent. Among this generation’s rising stars is Ireland’s Rosa Walsh-McCann.
An incredibly prolific competitor in the European circuits, Rosa has been consistently hitting the podium in promotions both large and small, such as IBJJF, AJP, ADCC, WNO, Grapple Fest and Grapple Kings. Gi or no-gi, it doesn’t matter. She’s there. The last few years have seen Rosa travel often to the United States, training – and generally living her best life – with friend and coach Ffion Davies.
In fact, Rosa became Ffion’s first black belt promotion just last September… after which Rosa then proceeded to show the jiu-jitsu world exactly how well-deserved it was by blowing through the competition at the IBJJF European No-Gi Championships to win gold just a month later. Those who have been watching her journey were not surprised, especially after her stellar performance at the ADCC Las Vegas Open in 2022. She secured all three wins by submission, one of which she submitted black belt Nathalie Ribeiro in under a minute with a savage armbar.
Rosa will be an absolute force to be reckoned with in the black belt division. Her strong takedown skills, relentless passing, smooth scrambles, and ruthless submission hunting will make her a regular face on the top of the black belt podium. The best part? In addition to being a top-level competitor, she’s also a genuinely nice human being.
How long have you been training and how did you start?
I have been training for the past 9 years. I had been training boxing and thai boxing, so it was a natural progression, as they were running classes in the same gym.
What are your goals for 2024?
To win ADCC Trials and IBJJF NoGi Wolds.
What has been your greatest accomplishment and why?
ADCC Open 2022 - I had watched Nathalie ever since I was a blue belt so to have a match with her, to win that match and then to win by armbar was just incredible.
What do you want your legacy to be?
I would like to be a trailblazer for Irish jiu-jitsu. There is so much talent in the country and I’d like to set the standard for up-and-coming athletes from Ireland.
Who is your role model and why?
What is your favorite quote?
“It’s the journey not the destination” and “Water has no effect on fake flowers”. I have experienced situations where those quotes have really been relevant. They remind me of those situations and the lessons I’ve learned from them!
What advice do you give to those who look up to you?
I think consistency is the key to everything to do with jiu-jitsu. A lot of people are focused on the end product, but a lot of the time it’s about the day-to-day things that end up making the final result happen. I do so much better in competition when I have enjoyed my camp and I am happy during it.
What does being a Kingz sponsored athlete mean to you?
Kingz is such a well-established brand, so to be a sponsored athlete is just amazing. I feel very grateful to have been given the opportunity and I can’t wait to work with such an incredible brand.