All you need to know about Ricardo Almeida's dedication to martial arts is this; he volunteered for his very first MMA fight just days before the event, against a veteran fighter in the prestigious and legendary organization Pride FC. Ricardo went on to win that fight and began an MMA career that saw him fight in the top organizations in MMA including Pancrase and the UFC.
His MMA career would have been enough to solidify Ricardo's place in Jiu Jitsu history, but his dedication to the martial arts carried over to instructing and coaching. Ricardo has coached several Jiu Jitu champions and successful MMA fighters including former UFC Lightweight Champion Frankie Edgar. He is also the owner, operator, and head instructor at Ricardo Almeida BJJ in New Jersey. RABJJ is one of the most successful academies on the east coast.
At the age of 17, Ricardo's Jiu Jitsu journey started in Rio de Janeiro at the Gracie Barra Academy. There he met and befriended the man who many consider one of the greatest fighters of all time, Renzo Gracie. When Renzo moved to the United States to open his own academy Ricardo joined him. Ricardo began teaching part-time at Renzo's NYC academy, while also teaching his own students, and competing in major tournaments. As the years passed Ricardo became a Pan American Champion and a multi-time ADCC medalist. He did all of this while simultaneously opening his own academy and starting a family.
It was that family that made Ricardo step away from his successful MMA career. He had been spending too much time away from them and could not dedicate himself fully to his family and academy in Jersey. Ricardo would return to fighting a couple more times after his first retirement, but he stepped away for good when his son was diagnosed with autism.
Ricardo's dedication to his son named Renzo, after his friend and mentor has certainly paid off. Renzo Almeida is on his way to college on a track scholarship to a Division II school. Ricardo believes that the benefits of Jiu Jitsu training are one of the main factors in his son's athletic and academic success.
Ricardo continues instructing and coaching today. He is training champions in both
Jiu Jitsu and MMA, as well as giving men, women, and children a place to train at RABJJ. His dedication to sharing his knowledge and the benefits of Jiu Jitsu will be carried on for generations to come.
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