Edwin " Junny " Ocasio has become one of the top grapplers of his generation but his journey to get there was filled with obstacles that would have made most young men give up on their dreams. Extreme physical, sexual, and mental abuse as a child, along with drug abuse and untreated injuries combined to prevent Junny from excelling in combat sports. With very little support, Junny took it upon himself to make the drastic changes necessary to put himself on a path to achieving his goals.
Junny found wrestling as a freshman in high school and fell in love with the sport. It gave him an outlet for the pent-up aggression he was carrying after years of growing up in an abusive environment. Unfortunately during his second season, Junny tore his ACL, and without the proper support from his family, he was unable to get the injury repaired. This meant he could no longer wrestle or compete in any sports. Without a positive outlet for the "demons" Junny was carrying inside him he turned to self-medication with marijuana and pills. Junny then dropped out of school and began working a series of dead-end jobs.
Even with everything going against him, Junny always knew he could persevere. He kept telling himself he was better than his circumstances and what the people in his life thought of him. He began setting realistic goals for himself and began taking steps to get his life back on track. Junny began making his seemingly go nowhere job work for him. He knew that he would qualify for insurance if he worked hard enough and long enough and once he qualified he could finally get his knee repaired. It took six years from the time he tore his ACL to the time he got it surgically repaired but Junny was now one step closer to his goal.
As soon as he could Junny enrolled in an MMA program and found the Jiu Jitsu aspect of the sport incredibly rewarding. He began focusing on Jiu Jitsu and was soon training with Murilo Santana. At the time Murilo was searching for a location to open his own academy and would train with Junny most mornings at Ronin Athletics. When Murilo found a spot Junny switched academies and became the first student at the new Unity Jiu Jitsu.
Junny, with the coaching and mentorship of Murilo, along with his own dedication began to excel in Jiu Jitsu and as a purple belt, Junny made a statement in the grappling world. Junny came out on top of a 250 man tournament leading up to the very first KASAI Elite Grappling Championship card. He qualified for the card and along the way submitted four black belts. While he did not make the finals of the event he was not scored upon by the likes of IBJJF World Champion Celso Venicius, and IBJJF No-Gi World Champ Gianni Grippo.
Junny has continued his winning ways, making the podium at several major tournaments as a colored belt and black belt, which he received from Murilo, and eventually became the F2W Bantamweight Champion. Now, as a high-level competitor and instructor at Unity Jiu Jitsu, Junny still battles with those negative thoughts that people forced upon him as a child. However, he has stated he knows what it took to get to where he is today and he can kill thoughts quickly. Junny hasn't reached all the goals he has set for himself but with his courage and perseverance, it is only a matter of time before he does.