Following all his success in Jiu-Jitsu, Ronaldo Jacaré walked a long, hard road to prove he’s also got the right stuff in MMA. He made his MMA debut at Jungle Fight 1 in 2003, losing to the more experienced Jorge “Macaco” Patino. Unfazed, now after rattling off 13 wins, one loss, and one no-contest in his 15-fight career, Jaca conquered the belt of a major worldwide promotion, Strikeforce.
In his bout against Tim Kennedy last Saturday, the Henrique Machado black belt showed himself to be a well-rounded fighter, a quality indispensible in the MMA of today. Tactically stifled from using the Jiu-Jitsu that yielded him ten submission wins, his boxing was put to the test against a top middleweight fighter. With the win, Jacaré comes full circle in his string of wins in distinct styles, but according to him, there’s much more coming up ahead.
“I’m overjoyed about being Strikeforce champion, it’s a feeling of mission accomplished. I went out there to become champion, and I did it!”
Check out the conversation the champion had with GRACIEMAG.com:
You’re also a two-time absolute world champion in Jiu-Jitsu and the winner of the last ADCC super fight. Are these titles equivalent to the Strikeforce one to you?
All of those titles were important in my career. The titles I won in Jiu-Jitsu are unforgettable, as well as being what started everything off. The ADCC 2009 was one of pushing the limit because I was called up a few days before the event, and the Strikeforce one is unforgettable. Each conquest complements the other!
In the Tim Kennedy fight you fought standing the whole time. Was that your strategy or just how you felt the fight was playing out at that moment?
It was how I felt the fight going. I felt that he, for being the better wrestler, would try and take me down and work from the top. So I would put to practice what I do best, which is Jiu-Jitsu. But he didn’t try and take me down, and the times I tried to take him down I was unable to. Besides realizing he defended well, I felt he was really strong. I opted to fight standing because I was having the better time of it, so much better that I won unanimously.
What does all the experience fighting Jiu-Jitsu (with and without the gi) facilitate for success in MMA?
In Jiu-Jitsu, especially, championships are really competitive and that helps when you make the transition to MMA. For instance, at championships you always have numerous matches, all of them tough, which makes you really tired and your arms and fingers are blown out. And after that, there are even tougher guys you have to face.
What are your hopes for the future?
I hope to evolve in MMA, defend my Strikeforce title and win. I thank God for everything, for having given me a marvelous family. My team Xgym, which helped me conquer this title, and all my training partners.