Former UFC fighter and BJJ World champion says, “When I went into MMA I lost my BJJ.” This prompted a lively exchange about training and the philosophies around training and cross training. As an example Marcio states, “In MMA when someone has you in side control you push away, in BJJ you don’t, you have more options.” He has the perspective of a seasoned Brazilian black belt and knows the power of Jiu-Jitsu. He continued, “I believe you’re not going to be good without the gi.”
Márcio is a third degree black belt. He received his black belt in four years from Carlos Gracie Jr. When I countered with, “Carlinhos? Carlinhos doesn’t do that!” Pe de Pano said, “That’s what Carlos said when he gave me the belt.”
He began training in 1996 when he was 18. In 1999 he ran the ladder going from blue to brown in one year.
He competed in the 1999 Pans in January as a blue belt and won his division and absolute.
He competed in the 1999 Worlds in July as a purple and won his division.
He competed in the 1999 Nationals in October as a brown belt and placed second.
He went on to win the 2000 Worlds in his division and & absolute as a brown belt. Later in 2000 he won Nationals in his division and absolute as a black belt. In 2002 he won gold at the Worlds in his division and absolute.
Márcio is married, living in Tampa Florida and has two kids. Marico is the head instructor of Marcio Cruz Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (http://newtampabjj.com/) in Tampa Florida. When asked about kids and BJJ he believes that training for kids should be fun. If they pick up some striking it’s not based on a rigid form but as a game. He says, “I don’t like kids doing conditioning. They should be having fun.”
Márcio, his brother Cruz and brown belt Rafael Pereira will be in SoCal for two weeks leading up to the Worlds May 29th – June 2nd. He isn’t competing in this year’s Worlds; he is here to support his teammates. They are training with Mauricio “Tinguinha” Mariano in Yorba Linda, CA during their stay. Says Márcio of Tinguinha, “When I want to the academy I remember Tinguinha was a brown belt when I was a white belt.”