With MMA on the rise in the Gulf and many former champions are heading to the region to offer their expertise and help coach all the potential talent. We had the chance to sit down with MMA Heavy Weight Champion, Marcos Oliveira and ask him a few questions about his career and get his perspective on his new life in the UAE.
When did you start training Jiu Jitsu?
I started when I was nine, but in Rio most people who train Judo also train in Jiu Jitsu. I had my fist Jiu Jitsu competition when I was 16 and from then on my career excelled.
What are your achievements in Combat Sports?
My resume highlights all my records and achievements:
Judo Black belt since 1995 part of Brazilian Olympic Team.
Brazilian Junior National Team Member
6X State Champion
2009 World Champion (FILA)
3X Brazilian National Champion
Pan American Champion
3X US National Champion
Brazilian Olympic team member
South American Champion
Runner up South American Games
Pan American Games 2003
World Championship Iran 2002 .World Championship USA NY 2003
Olympic Circuit Champion 2002
Registered coach of Brazilian Boxing federation
Did you start wrestling at the same time?
I started wrestling in 2001, after finishing my Judo career. At the time, Brazil was hosting the South American Games, so I decided to enroll in the trials and join the Brazilian Olympic Team and I succeed! After that I started to compete in tournaments like World Championship, Pan American Games, and South American Games.
What part of Rio de Janiero are you from?
I grew up in Santa Cruz
When did you start MMA ?
My first MMA Camp was with Rio with the RuasVale Tudo team. It was an old-school style dojo set up by Marcos Ruas and Pedro Rizzo. The I decided to move to the States. Then I decided to move to the states. At the time, there was one elite created The American Top Team, and I was one of the first ten fighters there. We lived and trained together for two years and we created, according to my knowledge, the best MMA team back then.
Tell us about your first fight?
My first MMA fight was in New Orleans against Anthony Barbier on the 21st of August, 2004. I won by submission in the first round!
What’s your current record?
Who inspired you to start fighting?
I guess it was Renato Sobral. Maybe it was because we grew up together, went to the same high school and college. Plus, we both competed with the Brazilian National Wrestling Team. He also was beside me when I was preparing for my first MMA fight when I was training with Ruas Vale Tudo.
Who are your coaches (Boxing, Wrestling, and Jiu Jitsu)
My boxing coach is Paulo Cafuringa. He is a Brazilian Olympic coach.
My Jiu Jitsu coach was Julio Cesar Pereira and Ricardo Liborio. And at the moment my wrestling coaches are Ryan Sargent and George from the Abu Dhabi Combat Club.
What’s next for you?
I’m still living in Abu Dhabi, working as a coach for the Jiu Jitsu school project. I love to train those kids and pass on my knowledge to them. I want to inspire them to become better practitioners of this gentle art, and fighters if they want in the future! I love it here in the UAE and I want to see this country grow stronger from the Martial Arts side of sports. It’s my passion to be a coach. I have a feeling I can do more as a coach than a fighter. My aim is to give what I got to the people of the UAE.
Would you want a rematch with Shamil?
Everyday since that loss I think about a rematch. Nothing personal against him, I just need to prove myself that I’m better than that and prove my doubters wrong.I made the biggest mistake on that night, I wasn’t supposed to fight due to some recurring injuries which affected my training progress. However, I didn’t want to cancel the fight and disappoint myself, my coach, the organizers of the event and most importantly the people who came to support me and watch me fight.It’s a lesson to be learnt and I will come back stronger, I promise.
He has the belt now, and I’m coming back to take it from him. You will see the true and “Ready” “Santra Cruz”
Weren’t you thinking about fighting abroad?
Not until I fight Shamil again and emerge victoriously.
Lastly, How did you come up with your very own, Ready Fight Gear?
I came up with the concept in Rio. I was teaching Judo and Jiu Jitsu and was producing shorts and shirts for the class. One of my students, George Felipe, gave me some designs and we started talking about moving abroad [The States]. He was saying all the time “Marcos, you are always READY. You are a READY man, READY to fight and READY to win.” That’s how the story goes. The idea inspired me and I took it from there. I started selling Jiu Jitsu and Judo shirts. In one of the competitions, we made a shirt and at that time, there was a kid called Jrao Derly, he bought a shirt and started bring loads of kids to buy the same shirt. My best sales man! After a couple of years, he became the first 2x World Judo Champion. I moved to America and started producing MMA shorts and my dream is position READY as the best MMA shorts in the world.
In 2008, Gabriel Gonzaga, quotes that “Ready fight Gear shorts are the best in the world” and he bought 200 of them for his gym in England.