Marcio Cruz - 6 Times IBJJF World Champion

Marcio Cruz - 6 Times IBJJF World Champion

1. Marcio Cruz’s Details

Marcio Cruz’s Details
Name  Márcio Ribeiro da Cruz
Nickname  Pé de Pano
Born  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Residence  Tampa, Florida, United States
Date of Birth  4/24/1978
Weight  93 kg
Weight Division Light Heavyweight
Last Weigh-In Absolute Division
Height  6’4’’
Reach  82 in
Foundational Style  BJJ
Submission Wrestling
Disclosed Career Earnings  $30,000 USD
College / University  N/A
Rank 5th-Degree BJJ Black Belt
Head Coach  Carlos Gracie Jr.
Last Fight  2017 IBJJF Pro GP
Fighting Out Of  Lutz, Florida, United States
Favorite Technique Triangle Choke
Lineage  Carlos Gracie > Hélio Gracie > Carlos Gracie Junior > Marcio Cruz
Team Association  Gracie Elite Team (Previously Gracie Barra)
Team Pe de Pano

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2. Marcio Cruz’s Biography

Marcio Cruz is one of the best BJJ competitors under Carlos Gracie Jr. He was the best fighter at Gracie Barra Academy and made a name for himself in the ultra-heavyweight division. After winning multiple championships representing Gracie Barra Academy, Cruz opened up his own academy, Marcio Cruz Jiu-Jitsu Academy.     

2.1. Started Martial Arts Training

Cruz had a love for sports even during his childhood, starting his martial arts training by learning karate when he was 12 years old. 

2.2. Introduction to BJJ

While living at his grandfather's house, Cruz was introduced to jiu-jitsu. He immediately fell in love with jiu-jitsu and started training at a gym near his grandfather’s house during his early teenage years.

2.3. A Short Break from BJJ

After leaving his grandfather’s house, Cruz could not find another BJJ gym to train at nearby. Despite his love for jiu-jitsu, Cruz had to take a break without knowing when he would be able to resume his BJJ training. To keep his skills sharp, Cruz took up judo. 

2.4. Rejoined BJJ

When Cruz turned 17 years old, he got a chance to take up BJJ again. He did not start Jiu-Jitsu training at an early age but he decided to overcome all his shortcomings and joined BJJ as a professional. He worked hard to complete the initial stages of BJJ and overcome his shortcomings. So, he became one of the best competitors of his generation.  

2.5. Early BJJ Achievements

Though Cruz started his jiu-jitsu training in 1996, his natural talent allowed him to achieve early success in BJJ competitions. In 1999, He won the IBJJF Pan Championship as a blue belt and the IBJJF World Championship as a purple belt. At the end of 1999, Cruz competed in the Brazilian National Champion. These achievements increased his morale and pushed him to work harder to reach greater heights. Cruz continued with his accomplishments in every color belt division until he became one of the best Gracie Barra competitors.  

2.6. Black Belt Promotion

While climbing up the colored belt ranks, Cruz fought in several championships over the course of five years. In 2001, he won in his weight and absolute divisions of the IBJJF World Championship. Afterward, Cruz was given his black belt by Carlos Gracie Jr. Now, Cruz is a fifth-degree black belt.    

2.7. Six-Time World Champion

Despite entering the competitive grappling circuit late, Cruz became a six-time world champion. He won in both his weight and the absolute divisions in two championships as a brown belt and a black belt. The other two world titles he won were in his weight division as a purple belt and the absolute division as a black belt. Besides winning three gold medals in world championships, Cruz also won four bronze medals in multiple IBJJF World Championships.    

2.8. Eight-Time Pan American Champion and Five-Time Brazilian National Champion

Cruz have also won eight gold medals in the IBJJF Pan Championship and five gold medals in the Brazilian National Championship during his time in the colored and black belt divisions.   

2.9. Marcio Cruz Jiu-Jitsu Academy

In 2010, Cruz opened his own academy, Marcio Cruz Jiu-Jitsu Academy. Both he and his wife taught BJJ, Muay Thai, kids' martial arts, and women-only jiu-jitsu classes. There are academies in New Tampa and Carrollwood.

2.10. Top BJJ Competitors Defeated by Marcio Cruz

Famous BJJ fighters that have been defeated by Cruz include Roger Gracie, Marcelo Gracia, Ricco Rodriguez, Gabriel Gonzaga, Mike Van Arsdale, Paulo Filho, Xande Ribeiro, Fabrício Werdum, Saulo Ribeiro, Jeff Monson, Fernando “Margarida” Pontes, and Fernando Augusto.      

2.11. Outspoken in His Opinions

Cruz is an outspoken grappler who often speaks his opinions about other fighters, whether they be compliments or criticism. Cruz has talked about Fernando Terere, Jeff Monson, and others. People either love or hate Cruz for his arrogant behavior. But they deny that he is one of the most talented heavyweight champions in BJJ and MMA. 

2.12. Mixed Martial Arts Career

Mixed Martial Arts Career
Photo Credit: @pedepanobjj

Cruz’s MMA debut was at the UFC in 2005. In his first fight, he submitted Keigo Kunihara with a rear naked choke in the second round. Later, Cruz would fight three more UFC matches, but would only win one.

2.13. Nickname

Cruz’s nickname “Pé de Pano” means “Sugarfoot” in Portuguese. It was inspired by a character from the cartoon Woody the Woodpecker. Cruz’s friends from Gracie Barra Academy gave him this nickname due to his tall height and clumsy nature.   

2.14. Personal Life

Marcio Cruz has been married to Ariana Cruz since 2009 and has four kids, Aayalah, Clara, Matthew, and Renan.

Personal Life
Photo Credit: @aricruz_mcbjj

2.15. Marcio Cruz’s Love for Jiu-Jitsu

Cruz does not have the typical characteristics of a BJJ fighter, like a body full of tattoos, cauliflower ears, and a broad back. However, his fighting style makes him a favorite among BJJ fans. Cruz expressed his love for jiu-jitsu by saying the following, 

“I love to fight… If they call me, I fight. I started when I was old but I have a lot of talent for jujitsu. This is my life, my dream to be a fighter. I will keep fighting until my body says stop and I can’t do it anymore.”

“It is a lifestyle, In order to fight, you need to love it. I like to train because when you train, you can forget about your problems.”

3. Marcio Cruz’s Historic Fights

3.1. Marcio Cruz Vs. Roger Gracie

Cruz faced Roger Gracie in the 2003 IBJJF World Championship finals. Gracie started the fight with a pulling guard but failed and was forced to stand up abruptly. Cruz responded by applying his own pulling guard, but failed; so, he instead tried to grapple his opponent’s leg. However, Gracie managed to grab Cruz’s leg and took the top position. All of this happened within the first 40 seconds of the match. 

Eventually, Cruz managed to escape Gracie’s grip. Gracie tried to apply another pulling guard but only managed to apply a full guard for a few seconds. Later, Cruz managed to mount Gracie and prevent him from escaping. Getting behind Gracie, Cruz applied a collar choke to try and submit Gracie, but time ran out. Luckily, Cruz won the match by having more points.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2003 IBJJF World Championship  Roger Gracie Win Pts 3x0 Final Absolute

3.2. Marcio Cruz Vs. Ricardo Evangelista

Cruz faced Ricardo Evangelista in the heavyweight division semifinals of the IBJJF Pro League. Cruz struggled to take down Evangelista at the start of the match. After one minute, Cruz applied a pulling guard and grabbed Evangelista’s gi and arm. He tried to apply an armbar, but Evangelista managed to resist.

Evangelista managed to get on top and tried to subdue Cruz. Cruz responded by applying a full guard and maintaining a strong grip around Evangelista’s groin. Evangelista stood up and tried to escape, almost succeeding in the process. Again, Evangelista found himself on top. Cruz first tried to apply an armbar but quickly switched to grappling Evangelista’s leg. Taken by surprise, Evangelista was not ready to counter.

Cruz tried and failed to take Evangelista from behind. He immediately followed up by trapping Evangelista’s right leg in between his legs. Evangelista tried to escape but Cruz also gripped his opponent’s leg with his arms and kept him on the ground. After a short struggle, Evangelista once again secured the top position. Cruz tried to grab Evangelista’s gi several times in a desperate attempt to break free, but Evangelista always managed to break loose. Both fighters scored two points for executing good sweeps. At the end of the fight, Cruz defeated Evangelista due to two penalties.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2013 IBJJF Pro League Ricardo Evangelista Win Penalties Semifinal Heavyweight

3.3. Marcio Cruz Vs. Denis “Deninho” Mitchel

Cruz faced Denis “Deninho” Mitchel in the 2023 Tampa Open absolute division. Both fighters started the fight by grasping each other's lapels to try to take each other down. Cruz grabbed Mitchel’s sleeve and pulled him onto the floor. Later, Cruz managed to trap Mitchel’s arm with his legs and his head in between his legs. Only a little after minute since the match started, Cruz submitted Mitchel via a triangle choke.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2023 Tampa Open Denis “Deninho” Mitchel Win Triangle N/A Absolute

4.  Marcio Cruz’s Main Achievements

4.1. Marcio Cruz’s Main Achievements in International Tournaments

Year Event Belt Weight Division
1998 IBJJF Brazilian Nationals Blue Belt Medium Heavyweight
1999 IBJJF Pan Championship Blue Belt Heavyweight
1999 IBJJF Pan Championship Blue Belt Absolute
1999 IBJJF World Championship Purple Belt Heavyweight
2000 IBJJF World Championship Brown Belt Ultra Heavyweight
2000 IBJJF World Championship Brown Belt Ultra Heavyweight
2000 IBJJF Brazilian Nationals Black Belt Super Heavyweight
2000 IBJJF Brazilian Nationals Black Belt Absolute
2001 IBJJF Brazilian Nationals Black Belt Ultra Heavyweight
2002 IBJJF World Championship Black Belt Ultra Heavyweight
2002 IBJJF World Championship Black Belt Absolute
2003 IBJJF World Championship Black Belt Absolute
2003 ADCC World Championship Black Belt 99 kg
2003 IBJJF Pan Championship Black Belt Ultra Heavyweight
2003 IBJJF Pan Championship Black Belt Absolute
2005 IBJJF Pan Championship Black Belt Ultra Heavyweight
2005 IBJJF Pan Championship Black Belt Absolute

4.2. Marcio Cruz’s Achievements as a Black Belt

Year Event Belt Position
2000 IBJJF Brazilian Nationals Black Belt 1st
2000 IBJJF Brazilian Nationals Black Belt 1st
2001 IBJJF Brazilian Nationals Black Belt 1st
2001 IBJJF Brazilian Nationals Black Belt 2nd
2001 IBJJF World Championship Black Belt 3rd
2001 IBJJF World Championship Black Belt 3rd
2002 IBJJF World Championship Black Belt 1st
2002 IBJJF World Championship Black Belt 1st
2003 ADCC World Championship Black Belt 1st
2003 IBJJF World Championship Black Belt 1st
2003 IBJJF Pan Championship Black Belt 1st
2003 IBJJF Pan Championship Black Belt 1st
2005 IBJJF Pan Championship Black Belt 1st
2005 IBJJF Pan Championship Black Belt 1st
2012 IBJJF World Championship Black Belt 3rd

5. Marcio Cruz’s BJJ Professional Record Breakdown

5.1. Marcio Cruz’s Win/Loss Record

66 Matches 48 Wins 18 Losses
By Points  22 7
By Advantages  0 3
By Submission  24 6
By Decision  1 1
By Penalties  1 1
By DQ 0 0

5.2. Method of Submission

Method 24 Wins 6 Losses
Armbar  8 1
Choke  3 0
RNC  2 0
Triangle Armbar  1 0
Knee on Belly  1 0
Triangle  5 1
Kneebar  2 0
Knee Ride  1 0
Guillotine  1 0
Footlock  0 1
Calf Slicer  0 1
Flying Armbar  0 1
Submission  0 1

6. Marcio Cruz’s BJJ Fight History

Year Competition Opponent W/L Method Weight Stage
2001 ADCC Van Arsdale W Kneebar O99KG R1
2001 ADCC Sean Alvarez L Pen O99KG 4F
2001 ADCC Ricco Rodriguez W Armbar O99KG 3RD
2001 ADCC Roberto Traven W Points ABS R1
2001 ADCC JJ Machado L Footlock ABS 4F
2001 Brasileiro Carlos Alberto W N/A O100KG F
2001 Brasileiro Fernando Terere L Pts: 6x5 ABS F
2001 World Champ. Marcio Corleta W Triangle ABS 4F
2001 World Champ. Marcio Corleta L Pts: 2x2, Adv O100KG SF
2002 Manaus Challenge Fernando Terere W Pts: 2x0 ABS SPF
2002 World Champ. Unknown W Points O100KG 4F
2002 World Champ. Felipe Pederneiras W Choke O100KG SF
2002 World Champ. Luiz Guilherme W Knee ride O100KG F
2002 World Champ. Marcus Valle W Armbar ABS R1
2002 World Champ. Roger Coelho W Triangle armbar ABS 4F
2002 World Champ. Alexandre Ribeiro W Pts: 2x0 ABS SF
2002 World Champ. Saulo Ribeiro W Pts: 2x0 ABS F
2002 Team Nationals Eduardo Telles W Pts: 10x2 O88KG F
2003 Team Nationals Alex Monsalve W Kneebar O88KG 4F
2003 ADCC Trials Rodrigo Artilheiro W RNC O99KG SF
2003 ADCC Trials Fabiano Scherner W N/A O99KG F
2003 ADCC Mike Whitehead W Points O99KG R1
2003 ADCC Jeff Monson W Points O99KG 4F
2003 ADCC Alex Negao W Guillotine O99KG SF
2003 ADCC Fabricio Werdum W Points O99KG F
2003 ADCC Ilir Lafiti W Points ABS R1
2003 ADCC Marcelo Garcia W Pts: 6x0 ABS 4F
2003 ADCC Dean Lister L Pts: 3x0 ABS SF
2003 ADCC Fabricio Werdum L Pts: 6x0 ABS 3PLC
2003 World Champ. Beto Ferreira W Armbar ABS R1
2003 World Champ. Leo. Montenegro W Triangle ABS R2
2003 World Champ. Fabricio Werdum W Pts: 7x0 ABS SF
2003 World Champ. Roger Gracie W Pts: 3x0 ABS F
2003 Brazil vs USA Robert Handley W Pts: 15 x 0 O100KG SPF
2003 Pan American Thiago Cruz W Armbar O100KG SF
2003 Pan American Todd Margolis W Knee on belly ABS 4F
2003 Pan American Joao Silva W Armbar ABS SF
2003 Pan American Fabricio Werdum W Armbar ABS F
2004 Best Fighters Alexandre Ribeiro W Referee Decision ABS SPF
2005 Pan American Alexandre Ribeiro W Pts: 2x0 ABS F
2005 ADCC Miodrag Petkovic W RNC O99KG R1
2005 ADCC Daniel Simoes W Pts: 2x0 O99KG 4F
2005 ADCC Gabriel Napao L Calf slicer O99KG SF
2005 Yamasaki Cup Fernando Margarida L Armbar ABS SPF
2006 World Cup Gabriel Gonzaga L Points O100KG F
2006 Team Nationals Unknown W Choke O88KG 4F
2006 Team Nationals Andre Galvao L Adv O88KG F
2007 ADCC J. Pietlainen W Armbar O99KG R1
2007 ADCC Marcos Oliveira W Points O99KG 4F
2007 ADCC Rolles Gracie L Points O99KG SF
2007 ADCC Darren Andy W Points O99KG 3PLC
2009 ADCC Anthony Perosh W Points 99KG R1
2009 ADCC Vinny Magalhaes L Flying armbar 99KG 4F
2010 World Champ. Rodrigo Cavaca L Triangle O100KG 4F
2011 World Champ. Tom Florence W Triangle O100KG RDS
2011 World Champ. Pega Leve W Choke O100KG 4F
2011 World Champ. Rodrigo Cavaca L Submission O100KG SF
2012 World Champ. Daniel Richards W Triangle ABS R2
2012 World Champ. Roberto Abreu L Pts: 12x4 ABS R2
2012 World Champ. Stephen Hall W N/A O100KG R2
2012 World Champ. Antonio Peinado W Triangle O100KG 4F
2012 World Champ. Marcus Almeida L Pts: 4x2 O100KG SF
2013 IBJJF Pro League R. Evangelista W Pen O94KG SF
2013 IBJJF Pro League Gustavo Pires W Armbar O94KG F
2015 UFC Expo Alexandre Ribeiro L Referee Decision ABS SPF
2017 IBJJF Pro GP Joao Rocha L Pts: 0x0, Adv ABS 4F

8. Marcio Cruz’s MMA Fight Record

8.1. Marcio Cruz’s Professional MMA Record

11 matches 8 wins 3 losses
By knockout 2 2
By submission 4 0
By decision 1 1
By disqualification 1 0

8.2. Submission Methods

Method 4 Wins 0 Loss
Rear Neck Choke  2 0
Triangle Armbar  1 0
Inverted Triangle Choke  1 0

8.3. MMA Fight History

Date Event Opponent W/L Method Round
2012 RFA 4: Griffin vs. Escudero Joe Yager W Submission (inverted triangle choke) 2
2011 Clube da Luta Glover Teixeira L TKO (punches) 2
2010 Art of Fighting 7 - Payday David Yost W Submission (rear-naked choke) 1
2009 Art of Fighting 4 - Damage Tommy Sauer W TKO (punches) 2
2009 ICF: Breakout Dan Christison W Decision (unanimous) 3
2008 World Victory Road Presents: Sengoku 3 Choi Mu-Bae W Submission (triangle armbar) 1
2007 IFL: Las Vegas Rafael Cavalcante W DQ (illegal kick) 3
2006 UFC 66: Liddell vs. Ortiz Andrei Arlovski L KO (punches) 1
2006 UFC 59: Reality Check Jeff Monson L Decision (split) 3
2006 UFC 57: Liddell vs. Couture 3 Frank Mir W TKO (punches and elbows) 1
2005 UFC 55 Keigo Kunihara W Submission (rear-naked choke) 2

9. Marcio Cruz’s Top Fight Links

Mundial 2003 - Roger Gracie vs Pe de Pano Finals

Marcio Cruz vs. Fabiano Scherner ADCC 2003 BRAZIL Trials Submission

Super Heavyweight Final - Marcio Cruz (Marcio Cruz BJJ) VS Gustavo Pires (Gracie Barra)

Marcio "Pe de Pano" Cruz VS Antonio Peinado / World Championship 2012

Photo Credit: @pedepanobjj

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