Marco Antônio de Lima Ruas (Portuguese pronunciation: [ˈmaʁku ˈʁuɐs]; born January 23, 1961) is a Brazilian retired mixed martial arts fighter, Brazilian Submission Wrestler and instructor. Ruas was the UFC 7 Tournament Champion, and also competed for the World Vale Tudo Championship (WVC), PRIDE Fighting Championships and the International Fight League (where head-coached the Southern California Condors).

Marco Ruas
Marco Ruas publicity shot crop.jpg
Born (1961-01-23) January 23, 1961 (age 61)
Rio de Janeiro, Brazil[1]
Other namesThe King of the Streets
Height6 ft 1 in (1.85 m)
Weight210 lb (95 kg; 15 st)
StyleLuta Livre, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Judo, Muay Thai, Taekwondo, Capoeira
Fighting out ofRio de Janeiro, Brazil
TeamRuas Vale Tudo
Rank9th Degree Red Belt in Luta Livre Esportiva under Roberto Leitão Sr.[2][3][4]
3rd Degree Black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Joe Moreira[5]
3rd Degree Black belt in Judo under Vinícius Ruas[6]
1st Degree Black Belt in Taekwondo[7]
Mestre rank / Red and White Cord in Capoeira under Mestre Camisa (José Tadeu Carneiro Cardoso)[8]
Mestre rank in Muay Thai (Confederação Brasileira de Muay Thai)[9]
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout2
By submission7
By knockout3
By decision1
Other information
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Ruas is a pioneer of Mixed Martial Arts, having fought in a high-profile Vale Tudo bout in 1984,[10] and later winning the UFC 7 tournament in 1995, begin the second Brazilian UFC champion and fourth overall of the organization. Although he was billed as a representative of Luta Livre and thus a high-level submission grappler, he was an equally capable and skilled Muay Thai striker with experience in Capoeira, Boxing and Taekwondo. He was able to synthesize both grappling and striking into one style, known for begin one of the first proponets of cross-training to compete in mixed martial arts events, and is considered one of the very first well-rounded fighters and true "mixed martial artist". This is represented by his famous quote after winning his fight in WVC 4: "If you grapple me, I punch and kick you. If you punch and kick me, I grapple you. There’s no way out."[11]

Marcos Ruas transformed his style in his own hybrid martial art which he called "Ruas Vale Tudo". In some later events, his fighting style was simply billed as "Vale Tudo".[12]


Ruas was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in 1961. He started his carrer training Boxing, Judo, Luta Livre under Roberto Leitão Sr., and in the art of capoeira with renowned Mestre Camisa in Rio de Janeiro at the Santa Luzia club, downtown Rio. He has instructed fighters such as Pedro Rizzo and Renato Sobral. As a black belt in Luta Livre, who faced up a legendary quarrel against the Brazilian jiu-jitsu fighters in the 80s and 90s. In 1984 he participated of the Noite das Artes Marciais ("Night of the Martial Arts"), fought by representatives of BJJ against representatives of Muay Thai, Kung Fu, Kickboxing and Luta Livre. Ruas represented LL fighting a match against BJJ representative Fernando Pinduka, which went to draw.[13] After the match against Pinduka, he started training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu with Osvaldo Alves.[4] Later he trained Joe Moreira before his fight against the Russian boxer Yuri Vaulin. Seeing his good skills in grappling, Moreira gave him a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and caused a commotion among his fellow Brazilians.[14] His instructors included Euclydes Hatem.[citation needed]

Ruas debuted in Ultimate Fighting Championship at the UFC 7 event in 1995. He firstly faced Larry Cureton, who outweighed him by 40 lbs, but Ruas submitted him with a heel hook after a methodical grapple. His next opponent was the judoka Remco Pardoel, who early tried a guillotine choke, but Ruas blocked it and grinded him with foot stomps. After a failed heel hook attempt, Ruas controlled Pardoel and attacked him with knees and punches on the ground, making him tap out. Ruas's final fight was against 6'8", 330 lb Paul Varelans, and he showed his muay thai skills by overwhelming Varelans with punch combos and repeated leg kicks. He also used again his characteristic foot stomps when Paul clinched him against the cage. At the end, Varelans could not take more kicks to his legs and fell to the ground, where Ruas pounded him until the referee stopped the fight, giving Ruas the victory of the tournament.

Thanks to his victory in UFC 7, Ruas was invited to the Ultimate Ultimate event. He defeated Keith Hackney by choke with ease, but his next opponente, Oleg Taktarov, made a tougher contest. Both fighters used a passive approach to the fight, with Ruas blocking Taktarov's takedown attempts and seizing all the opportunities to strike him, actually making him bleed profusely. However, the judges gave the decision win to Taktarov, and Ruas was eliminated from the tournament. This decision was met with controversy, and Ruas and his cornermen appealed to the referee, but nothing came from it. In 1996 he joined the nascent World Vale Tudo Championship (WVC), fighting in the superfight against UFC 3 Tournament Champion Steve Jennum in Tokyo, Japan. He won easily with a submission to punches and won the WVC Superfight belt. Almost a year after his last UFC fight, he faced Taktarov again in Brazil, in a bout with no judges. The rematch ended in a draw, but Ruas was clearly the most dominanting fighter, and he shook hands with Oleg after the fight. He kept the WVC Superfight belt in the process. He finished his run in the organization with his last superfight against UFC 2 finalist Patrick Smith in the WVC 4 event, easily winning with a heel hook.

He was then invited to PRIDE Fighting Championships in 1998, he first had a match against UFC veteran Gary Goodridge at PRIDE 2, winning with a heel hook after a 9-minute bout. At PRIDE 4 he fought Japanese shoot wrestler Alexander Otsuka. In a major upset, Otsuka fought with tenacity, taking Ruas down and performing ground-and-pound, defending a fully locked rear naked choke and forcing a TKO by medical stoppage in the second round. It was later revealed that Ruas fought under medication for hepatitis and a knee injury.[15] He returned briefly to UFC to fight former heavyweight champion Maurice Smith in UFC 21, but lost by TKO. Ruas suffered an injury in the first round and could not continue.

Marco Ruas was invited to participate in the newly formed MMA promotion International Fight League (IFL). This promotion would be divided into different teams (later becoming simply MMA camps) instead of one-on-one affairs, and at the end one of the seasons one of the teams/camps was crowned champion. Ruas coached the "Southern California Condors" team, later simply known as "Ruas Vale Tudo". He also had one rematch against Maurice Smith (which coached the IFL's "Seattle Tiger Sharks") as the superfight for the IFL: Chigaco event in 2007, which he lost by TKO with a stoppage by his corner.

Personal lifeEdit

Ruas is married and has three daughters.[16] Marco's first recorded fight was in 1984. Marco's nickname is "The King of the Streets" (Ruas actually means "streets" in Portuguese).[17] Marco lives in Laguna Niguel, California where he operates his own MMA gym "Ruas Vale Tudo".

Feud with Rickson GracieEdit

Ruas developed a feud with Rickson Gracie, both were one of the most skilled and high-profile grapplers of their time, and represent two rival styles that were feuding at the time: Luta Livre and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu. The rivalry started in 1988 when promoters tried to match both fighters to a Vale Tudo bout.

A few years later, both Rickson Gracie and Marco Ruas would gain international fame, Rickson Gracie became winner of the Vale Tudo Japan tournaments in '94 and '95, and headlined Pride 1 and Pride 4, while Ruas became UFC 7 and WVC champion. Rickson became a big celebrity in Japan and in the burgeoning international MMA scene. He became controversial for criticizing other top fighters and said in interviews that Marco Ruas as "nothing special" and "basic".[18] Ruas responded by saying "Talk is cheap. He has to step up in the ring and prove what he says."[19] and issuing multiple challenges against Gracie along the years, claiming he was avoided him as well as other actually skilled fighters.[20] In the end however, no fight was ever materialized between them.

In popular cultureEdit

Ruas made a cameo appearance as a jealous husband in Kickboxer 3, in which his character fought and lost to Sasha Mitchell's David Sloane at a party.

Instructor lineageEdit

Luta LivreEdit

Roberto Leitão Sr. → João Ricardo N. de Almeida → Marco Ruas[3]
Roberto Leitão Sr. → Marco Ruas[4]

Brazilian Jiu-JitsuEdit

Mitsuyo MaedaCarlos GracieHelio Gracie → Francisco Mansur → Joe Moreira → Marco Ruas[21]

Mitsuyo MaedaCarlos GracieReyson Gracie → Osvaldo Alves → Marco Ruas[4]


Jigoro KanoSoshihiro SatakeVinícius Ruas → Marco Ruas[22]


Mestre BimbaMestre Camisa → Marco Ruas

Muay ThaiEdit

Nelio Naja → Luiz Alves → Marco Ruas[23][24]

Championships and accomplishmentsEdit

Mixed martial arts recordEdit

Professional record breakdown
15 matches 9 wins 4 losses
By knockout 2 3
By submission 7 0
By decision 0 1
Draws 2
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Loss 9–4–2 Maurice Smith TKO (corner stoppage) IFL: Chicago May 19, 2007 4 3:43 Chicago, Illinois, United States
Win 9–3–2 Jason Lambert Submission (heel hook) Ultimate Pankration 1 November 11, 2001 1 0:56 Cabazon, California, United States
Loss 8–3–2 Maurice Smith TKO (corner stoppage) UFC 21 July 16, 1999 1 5:00 Cedar Rapids, Iowa, United States
Loss 8–2–2 Alexander Otsuka TKO (corner stoppage) Pride 4 October 11, 1998 2 10:00 Tokyo, Japan
Win 8–1–2 Gary Goodridge Submission (heel hook) Pride 2 March 15, 1998 1 9:09 Yokohama, Japan
Win 7–1–2 Patrick Smith Submission (heel hook) World Vale Tudo Championship 4 March 16, 1997 1 0:39 Brazil
Draw 6–1–2 Oleg Taktarov Draw World Vale Tudo Championship 2 November 10, 1996 1 31:12 Brazil
Win 6–1–1 Steve Jennum TKO (submission to punches) World Vale Tudo Championship 1 August 14, 1996 1 1:44 Tokyo, Japan Won WVC Superfight Championship.[26]
Loss 5–1–1 Oleg Taktarov Decision Ultimate Ultimate 1995 December 16, 1995 1 18:00 Denver, Colorado, United States Ultimate Ultimate 1995 Tournament Semifinals.
Win 5–0–1 Keith Hackney Submission (rear naked choke) 1 2:39 Ultimate Ultimate 1995 Tournament Quarterfinals.
Win 4–0–1 Paul Varelans TKO (leg kicks and punches) UFC 7 September 8, 1995 1 13:17 Buffalo, New York, United States Won the UFC 7 Tournament.
Win 3–0–1 Remco Pardoel Submission (position) 1 12:27 UFC 7 Tournament Semifinals.
Win 2–0–1 Larry Cureton Submission (heel hook) 1 3:23 UFC 7 Tournament Quarterfinals.
Win 1–0–1 Francisco Francisco Submission (rear naked choke) Ruas Vale Tudo July 1, 1992 1 0:26 Manaus, Brazil
Draw 0–0–1 Fernando Pinduka Draw Jiu-Jitsu vs Luta Livre November 30, 1984 1 20:00 Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Year Title Role
1992 Kickboxer III: The Art of War Himself
2004 The Eliminator Salvador


  1. ^ "Marco Ruas Sherdog Profile".
  2. ^ LUTA LIVRE Submission Archived 2015-12-11 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ a b "DSTRYRsg: Destroyer Submission Grappling and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu: KNOW YOUR DNA, THE LUTA LIVRE FAMILY TREE". Archived from the original on 2014-09-12. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  4. ^ a b c d "IMARA - Articoli - Ruas Marco". Archived from the original on 2016-03-05. Retrieved 2013-02-15.
  5. ^ "Joe Moreira". Archived from the original on 2014-09-12. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  6. ^ "Know Your Jiu-Jitsu Lineage, & Non Gracie Lineages". Bjj Eastern Europe. Archived from the original on 2014-09-12. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  7. ^ "Marco Ruas - TATAME". Archived from the original on 2014-09-12.
  8. ^ "Marco Ruas - Biography - IMDb". IMDb. Archived from the original on 2016-04-03. Retrieved 2018-06-30.
  9. ^ ":CBMT: Grão Mestres, Mestres, Professores e Instrutores". Archived from the original on 2014-09-12. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  10. ^ "JJ vs. MA - Jiu-Jitsu vs. Martial Arts". Sherdog. Retrieved 2022-01-05.
  11. ^ "Why Marco Ruas Should Be in the Hall of Fame". Sherdog. Retrieved 2022-01-05.
  12. ^ PVT (2019-09-12). "Marco Ruas relembra o surgimento do nome Ruas Vale-Tudo no UFC 7". Portal do Vale Tudo (in Brazilian Portuguese). Retrieved 2022-01-05.
  13. ^ "JJ vs. MA - Jiu-Jitsu vs. Martial Arts". Sherdog. Retrieved 2021-12-16.
  14. ^ Joe Moreira
  15. ^ Erich Krauss, Brett Aita. Brawl: A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Mixed Martial Arts Competition
  16. ^ Marco Ruas Biofile.
  17. ^ Pride Fighting Championships (1998-03-15). "Marco Rua Vs Gary Goodridge Pride 2". The Ultimate Fighting Championship FIGHT PASS. Archived from the original on 2015-12-13. Retrieved 2016-01-06.
  18. ^ Rickson Gracie interview 4,
  19. ^ Marco Ruas interview, Reocities
  20. ^ "Wanderlei and Marco Ruas challenge Rickson Gracie – ADCC NEWS". 2016-06-04. Retrieved 2022-01-22.
  21. ^ BJJ Heroes. "Joe Moreira". BJJ Heroes: the jiu jitsu encyclopedia. Archived from the original on 2014-08-05. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  22. ^ "Exclusive: Maeda Was Already Teaching Jiu-Jitsu In Rio 10 Years Before The Gracies". Bjj Eastern Europe. Archived from the original on 2014-09-12. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  23. ^ T.P. Grant (25 June 2012). "MMA Origins: Brazilian Vale Tudo Evolves As Chute Boxe Emerges". Bloody Elbow. Archived from the original on 2014-12-15. Retrieved 2014-09-12.
  24. ^ "The Development of Muay Thai: Brazil; Pt. 2". Write. Create. Innovate. Archived from the original on 2014-09-12.
  25. ^ UFC 45: Revolution Archived 2012-03-05 at the Wayback Machine. (2003-11-21). Retrieved on 2012-08-30.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 27 July 2009. Retrieved 15 January 2022.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)

External linksEdit

Preceded by UFC 7 Tournament winner
September 8, 1995
Succeeded by