Ronaldo Souza - A Fierce MMA Beast & 4th Degree BJJ Black Belt

Ronaldo Souza - A Fierce MMA Beast & 4th Degree BJJ Black Belt

1. Ronaldo Souza’s Details

Name Ronaldo Souza dos Santos
Nickname Jacaré
Born Vila Velha, Brazil
Date of Birth December 07, 1979
Age 44
Weight Division Medium Heavyweight
Last Weight-in 84.3kg/186.0 lbs
Height 6’11’’
Disclosed Career Earnings USD 1,401,500
Rank 4th Degree Black Belt
Pro MMA Record 26-10-0, 1 NC (Win-Loss-Draw)
Last Fight May 15, 2021, in UFC
Favorite Position Guard Passing
Head Coach Henrique Machado
University N/A
Lineage Carlos Gracie > Reyson Gracie > Osvaldo Alves > Henrique Machado > Ronaldo Souza
Fighting out of Manaus, Amazonas, Brazil
Team Association ASLE (BJJ)
Facebook Logo Instagram Logo

2. Ronaldo Souza’s Biography

Ronaldo Souza is a legendary Brazilian 4th-degree BJJ black belt submission fighter and a professional MMA competitor. In Jiu-Jitsu, Souza has won many times, including the gold medals. His top achievements as a BJJ are the ADCC Submission Fighting World Champion, CBJJO World Cup Champion, Brazilian National Champion, and European Open Champion. He joined MMA in 2003 and is regarded as among the most successful wrestlers, competing in Strikeforce Middleweight Champion, Jungle Fight, and DREAM.

2.1. Ronaldo Souza’s Early Life

Ronaldo Souza was born in Vila Velha, Brazil, on the 7th of December 1979. He belongs to a cafuza family and was brought up in Cariacica till he was 15. Souza admired soccer and played as a goalkeeper in his early days. Souza has always led a tough life during his teens. When he was 15 years old, on his birthday, he saw his best friend get shot in front of him. This incident dampened his spirits; his mother moved him to Manaus to live with his brother. At 17, after moving to Manaus, Souza started Jiu-Jitsu and Judo training because of his older brother, as his brother got injured and could not be trained. At the academy, Souza met Henrique Machado. Machado saw his talent and decided to teach him Jiu-Jitsu. At that time, Souza weighed 50kg and was uninterested in this sport. Machado took the young boy to his place, where he used to teach him daily in his wing, and provided him with the food necessary to prepare him physically and mentally for the tournament.

2.2. Ronaldo Souza’s BJJ Journey

Souza's BJJ trainer, Henrique, offered him a challenge, which he accepted and initially played randomly. However, after losing, he decided to try again, and ever since, he became obsessed with the sport. Under the guidance of his master, Herique Machado, he got promoted from colored to black belt. Souza became a fantastic athlete for the ASLE academy, founded by Henrique Machado. Later on, the ASLE team merged with the BRASA. BRASA team offers the fighters an international experience. On a national level, at lower ranks, Souza won multiple titles and gained popularity. He won a gold medal in the 2003 IBJJF World Championship while wearing a brown belt. He received his black belt under his coach in the same year. 2004 was incredible for Souza in BJJ as he competed against the best BJJ grapplers in the world. Souza won the IBJJF World Championships in both weight and absolute divisions. After that, he was awarded various titles in both national and international grappling tournaments. He only lost to Roger Gracie, who was 11kgs heavier than Souza.

2.3. Ronaldo Souza’s Family

Ronaldo Souza married his long-term girlfriend Larissa Carvalho and has three boys. Souza is a caring and loving husband and a great father. He teaches his sons Jiu-Jitsu to make them future BJJ’s top fighters. He said:

“Jiu-jitsu was so amazing for me that I have encouraged my kids to start training since they were little. It would be good for them if it did so well for me. That's what legacy is all about. I don't know if, 300 years from now anyone will remember any of my jiu-jitsu or MMA fights, But for sure my grandson will be putting on his kimono for the first time and falling in love with the family sport”.

2.4. Ronaldo Souza’s Top Achievements in BJJ

During his lower belts in BJJ, Souza got first place in the IBJJF World and CBJJ Brazilian National Championships and earned fame. Later, when he got his black belt in 2003, his status as a spectacular fighter built up. From 2003 to 2005, Souza secured titles in the medium-heavy and absolute weight classes. He won gold in the ADCC World, IBJJF Pan American, IBJJF World, CBJJO World, and IBJJF European Open Championships. He is considered the greatest BJJ fighter of his time, along with Roger Gracie and Marcelo Garcia.

2.5. Ronaldo Souza’s Awful Arm Injury

In the 2004 World Champion Open, Souza won the fight by taking his last bout against his opponent Roger Gracie, even with an injured arm while performing his armlock technique mid-match. His arm muscles became elastic and ruptured, and his elbow got dislocated. Despite that, he continued to fight by putting his arm in his belt and proving that he was indeed a warrior. Once again, Souza suffered a broken arm injury in 2021 during his MMA fight with Andre Muniz at UFC 262. Souza’s arm got trapped due to Muniz’s arm bar position, causing an arm fracture. Thankfully, his surgery was successful, but he was not allowed to lift weights. He shared an Instagram story related to his injury. He said:

‘The doctor told me that now I can move my arm easily in all directions, the alignment is improved and I can even wash dishes now’.

2.6. Ronaldo Souza’s MMA Career

Ronaldo Souza began his MMA journey in 2003 with his first fight at the Jungle Fight Event, where he lost to Jorge Patino by knockout but learned from the trial. After training, he returned to Jungle Fight 2 and won the match by submission, defeating Victor Babkir.

His next fight was with Alexander Shlemenko in 2006 at Jungle Fight 6. He defeated Alexander by arm triangle choke. The same year, he was invited to train at UFC Hall of Famer Randy Couture; he accepted their offer and started training.

2.7. Ronaldo Souza’s MMA Best Fights

Since then, Souza has won against top wrestlers like Yushin Okami, Vitor Belfort, Ed Herman, Bristol Marunde, Tim Kennedy, and Derek Brunson in Dream Middleweight Grand Prix, Strikeforce, and UFC tournaments, showcasing his best positions. In the DREAM Middleweight Championship finale, he was defeated by Gegard Mousasi. In 2013, Souza made his UFC debut, fighting against Chris Camozzi and winning with his excellent grappling skills. He was honored with the “Submission of the Night” title on April 20, 2015, and secured the 2nd position in the UFC middleweight rankings.

In 2016, the “Performance of the Night” title was presented to him in UFC 198 after he won a fight against Vitor Belfort, defeating his opponent in the first round by TKO. But after his arm injury in 2021, he announced that he would retire from MMA and return to BJJ.

2.8. Ronaldo Souza’s Professional Record

Ronaldo Souza holds the professional record of 47 wins with 6 losses in BJJ. Most of his submission wins were achieved through one of his favorite techniques, the armbar. He is indeed one of the best grapplers produced under Master Henrique Machado.

2.9. Ronaldo Souza’s BJJ Academy

Ronaldo Souza has committed to training in martial arts. In 2022, Souza started his own Jiu-Jitsu training center in Orlando, Florida. Recently, he posted his students' achievements on Instagram. He said:

‘We are very proud of these students who competed in the tournament. We took 19 athletes and returned with 17 medals (10 gold, four silver, and three bronze) and 21 submissions. We have completed one year since opening our Jiu-Jitsu school in Orlando and couldn’t be happier with this result.'

2.10. Ronaldo Souza’s Boxing Debut

On 3rd April 2023, Souza debuted in boxing against his fellow MMA partner Vitor Belfort. Ronaldo Souza and Vitor Belfort held an electrifying wrestling match at the Gamebred Boxing 4. The match lasted up to six rounds, each for 3 minutes. Souza’s opponent won the match by a unanimous decision.

3. Ronaldo Souza’s Historic Fights

3.1. Jacare Souza vs. Chris Weidman

In 2018 at UFC 230, Ronaldo Souza had a magnificent fight against his opponent, Chris Weidman. The match consists of five rounds, each of 3 minutes. Both the fighters fought aggressively, but Jacare won the matches by punches.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Weight Class
2018 UFC 230 Chris Weidman W Punches 83.9kg

3.2. Ronaldo Souza vs. Derek Brunson

In the 2018 UFC on FOX 27, Jacare brutally attacked his opponent Derek Brunson with head kicks and punches. The match continued for five rounds of 5 minutes. Souza won the fight with his remarkable performance.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Weight Class
2018 UFC on FOX 27 Derek Brunson W Head Kick & Punches 83.9kg

3.3. Jacare Souza vs. Kevin Holland

An outstanding match occurred in 2020 at the UFC 256 between Jacare Souza and the trailblazer Kevin Holland. At the beginning of the fight, Jacare uses a guillotine to bring down his opponent, but then Kevin manages to stand up and wins the fight by punching him. The match consisted of five rounds, but the fight ended within 1 minute 45 seconds of the first round.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Weight Class
2020 UFC 256 Kevin Holland L Punches 83.9kg

4. Ronaldo Souza’s National and International Achievements

Year Event Medal/Position Weight/Division
2001 CBJJ Brazilian National Championship BronzeBronze Medal Icon Medium Heavy
2001 IBJJF World Championship GoldGold Medal Icon Medium Heavy
2002 IBJJF World Championship GoldGold Medal Icon Medium Heavy
2002 CBJJ Brazilian National Champion GoldGold Medal Icon Medium Heavy
2003 IBJJF World Champion GoldGold Medal Icon Medium Heavy
2004 CBJJO World Cup Champion GoldGold Medal Icon Medium Heavy
2004 IBJJF World Champion GoldGold Medal Icon Absolute
2004 CBJJ Brazilian National Champion GoldGold Medal Icon Medium Heavy
2005 IBJJF European Open GoldGold Medal Icon Medium Heavy
2005 ADCC champion GoldGold Medal Icon Medium Heavy
2005 IBJJF World Champion GoldGold Medal Icon Medium Heavy
2009 ADCC Superfight GoldGold Medal Icon Medium Heavy

4.1. Ronaldo Souza’s Main Achievements (Black Belt)

Year Event Belt Position
2011 ADCC World Championship Black 2nd place
2009 ADCC Superfight Black 1st place
2005 ADCC Champion Black 1st place
2005 ADCC Absolute Black 2nd place
2005 IBJJF Medium Heavy Black 1st place
2005 IBJJF Absolute Black 1st place
2005 CBJJO World Cup Black 2nd place
2005 IBJJF European Open- Medium Heavy Black 1st place
2005 IBJJF European Open- Absolute Black 2nd place
2004 IBJJF Medium Heavy Black 2nd place
2004 IBJJF Absolute Black 1st place
2004 CBJJO World Cup Black 1st place
2004 IBJJF Pan American- Medium Heavy Black 1st place
2004 IBJJF Pan American- Absolute Black 1st place
2003 ADCC-Medium Heavy Black 2nd place
2003 ADCC Brazilian Qualifiers Black 1st place

4.2. Ronaldo Souza’s Main Achievements (Colored Belt)

Year Event Belt Position
2001 IBJJF- Medium Heavy Purple 1st place
2001 IBJJF- Absolute Purple 1st place
2002 IBJJF- Absolute Brown 2nd place
2002 IBJJF-Mediumheavy Brown 1st place
2003 IBJJF- Absolute Brown 1st place
2003 IBJJF-Mediumheavy Brown 1st place
2004 CBJJ Brazilian National Championship Brown 1st place

5. Ronaldo Souza’s BJJ Professional Record Breakdown

53 matches 47 wins 6 losses
By points 19 4
By advantages 0 1
By submission 27 1
By decision 0 0
By penalties 1 0
By DQ 0 0

5.1. Methods of Submission W/L

Methods 27 Wins 1 Losses
Armbar 8 0
Kneebar 3 0
Flying triangle 2 0
Choke 2 0
Cross choke 1 0
Triangle 4 0
Kimura 3 0
Wristlock 2 0
Choke from back 1 0
Clock choke 1 0
RNC 0 1

6. Ronaldo Souza’s MMA Fight History

Opponent W/L Method Competition Weight Year
Vitor Belfort L Decision (unanimous) Gamebred Boxing 4 90.7kg 2023
André Muniz L Technical Submission (armbar) UFC 262 83.9kg 2021
Kevin Holland L KO (punches) UFC 256 83.9kg 2020
Jan Błachowicz L Decision (split) UFC Fight Night: Błachowicz vs. Jacaré 93.0kg 2019
Jack Hermansson L Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night: Jacaré vs. Hermansson 83.9kg 2019
Chris Weidman W KO (punches) UFC 230 83.9kg 2018
Kelvin Gastelum L Decision (split) UFC 224 83.9kg 2018
Derek Brunson W KO (head kick and punches) UFC on Fox: Jacaré vs. Brunson 2 83.9kg 2018
Robert Whittaker L TKO (head kick and punches) UFC on Fox: Johnson vs. Reis 83.9kg 2017
Tim Boetsch W Submission (Kimura) UFC 208 83.9kg 2017
Vitor Belfort W TKO (punches) UFC 198 83.9kg 2016
Yoel Romero L Decision (split) UFC 194 83.9kg 2015
Chris Camozzi W Submission (armbar) UFC on Fox: Machida vs. Rockhold 83.9kg 2015
Gegard Mousasi W Submission (guillotine choke) UFC Fight Night: Jacaré vs. Mousasi 83.9kg 2014
Francis Carmont W Decision (unanimous) UFC Fight Night 83.9kg 2014
Yushin Okami W TKO (punches) UFC Fight Night 83.9kg 2013
Chris Camozzi W Technical Submission (arm-triangle choke) UFC on FX 83.9kg 2013
Ed Herman W Submission (Kimura) Strikeforce 88.0kg 2013
Derek Brunson W KO (punches) Strikeforce 83.9kg 2012
Bristol Marunde W Submission (arm-triangle choke) Strikeforce 83.9kg 2012
Luke Rockhold L Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce 83.9kg 2011
Robbie Lawler W Submission (rear-naked choke) Strikeforce 83.9kg 2011
Tim Kennedy W Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce 83.9kg 2010
Joey Villaseñor W Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce 83.9kg 2010
Matt Lindland W Submission (arm-triangle choke) Strikeforce 83.9kg 2009
Jason Miller NC NC (cut) DREAM 9 84kg 2009
Gegard Mousasi L KO (upkick) Dream 6: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 Final Round 84kg 2008
Zelg Galešić W Submission (armbar) Dream 6: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 Final Round 84kg 2008
Jason Miller W Decision (unanimous) Dream 4: Middleweight Grand Prix 2008 Second Round 84kg 2008
Ian Murphy W Submission (rear-naked choke) Dream 2: Middleweight Grand Prix 84kg 2008
Wendell Santos W TKO (submission to punches) Hero's The Jungle 84kg 2007
José de Ribamar W Submission (armbar) Amazon Challenge 84kg 2007
Bill Vucick W TKO (submission to punches) Gracie Fighting Championships: Evolution 84kg 2007
Haim Gozali W Submission (rear-naked choke) Jungle Fight Europe 84kg 2006
Alexey Prokofiev W Submission (triangle choke) Fury Fighting Championship 1 84kg 2006
Alexander Shlemenko W Technical Submission (arm-triangle choke) Jungle Fight 6 84kg 2006
Victor Babkir W TKO (submission to punches) Jungle Fight 2 84kg 2004
Jorge Patino L KO (punches) Jungle Fight 1 84kg 2003

6.1. MMA Submission Methods W/L

Methods Wins Loss
Armbar 4 0
Kimura 2 0
Guillotine Choke 1 0
RNC 3 0
Arm Triangle Choke 2 0
Triangle Choke 1 0

7. Ronaldo Souza’s BJJ Fight History

Opponent W/L Method Competition Weight Stage Year
Unknown W Points ADCC Trials 88KG NA 2003
Fernando Margarida W Points ADCC Trials 88KG NA 2003
Ryan Gracie W Pts: 5x0 ADCC 88KG R1 2003
Matt Lindland W Armbar ADCC 88KG 4F 2003
Ricardo Almeida W Pts: 6x0 ADCC 88KG SF 2003
Saulo Ribeiro L Pts: 3x0 ADCC 88KG F 2003
Delson Heleno W Pts: 6x0 BB Challenge 3 88KG SPF 2004
Gustavo Guimaraes W Triangle Golden Cup 82KG SF 2004
Thales Leites W Pts: 4x0 Golden Cup 82KG F 2004
Fabio Nascimento W Choke from back Pan American 88KG SF 2004
Braulio Estima W Flying triangle Pan American 88KG F 2004
Pascoal Castro W Armbar Pan American ABS 8F 2004
Fernando Piero W Wristlock Pan American ABS 4F 2004
Todd Margolis W Flying triangle Pan American ABS SF 2004
Fernando Terere W Pts: 6x0 Pan American ABS F 2004
Marcelo Garcia W Pts: 3x2 Best Fighters ABS SPF 2004
Robert Fonseca W Kneebar Team Nationals 88KG SF 2004
Givanildo Santana W Armbar Team Nationals 88KG F 2004
Unknown W Kneebar Brasileiro 88KG 4F 2004
Givanildo Santana W Armbar Brasileiro 88KG SF 2004
Roger Gracie W Pts: 4x2 World Champ. ABS F 2004
Erik Wanderlei W Choke World Cup ABS 4F 2004
Fabricio Werdum W Pts: 10x0 World Cup ABS SF 2004
Fernando Margarida W Pts: 7x0 World Cup ABS F 2004
Jackson Moura W Triangle World Cup 88KG R1 2004
Marco Matos W Armbar World Cup 88KG 4F 2004
Bruno Bastos W Wristlock World Cup 88KG SF 2004
Vitor Nobrega W Cross choke European Open 88KG F 2005
Lucio Rodrigues W Pts: 6x0 European Open ABS SF 2005
Roger Gracie L Pts: 2x0 European Open ABS F 2005
Mike Weaver W Armbar Budo Challenge 98KG SF 2005
Karl Amaso W Triangle Budo Challenge 98KG F 2005
David Bielkheden W Kimura ADCC 88KG R1 2005
Robert Sulski W Triangle ADCC 88KG 4F 2005
Dennis Hallman W Armbar ADCC 88KG SF 2005
Demian Maia W Pts: 0x0, Pen ADCC 88KG F 2005
David Avellan W Pts: 6x0 ADCC ABS R1 2005
A. Cacareco W Kneebar ADCC ABS 4F 2005
Marcelo Garcia W Kimura ADCC ABS SF 2005
Roger Gracie L RNC ADCC ABS F 2005
Saulo Ribeiro W Pts: 8x0 World Cup 88KG SF 2005
Demian Maia L Adv World Cup 88KG F 2005
Eduardo Telles W Clock choke World Cup O75KG 4F 2005
Gabriel Napao W Pts: 2x0 World Cup O75KG SF 2005
Alexandre Ribeiro L Pts: 2x0 World Cup O75KG F 2005
Alexandre Souza W Choke World Champ. 88KG R1 2005
Delson Heleno W Armbar World Champ. 88KG 4F 2005
Antonio Sergio W Kimura World Champ. 88KG SF 2005
Braulio Estima W Pts: 6x0 World Champ. 88KG F 2005
Braulio Estima W Pts: 9x0 World Champ. ABS SF 2005
Roger Gracie W Pts: 2x0 World Champ. ABS F 2005
Robert Drysdale W Pts: 8x0 ADCC ABS SPF 2009
Braulio Estima L Pts: 3x0 ADCC ABS SPF 2011

8. Ronaldo Souza’s Top Fights

Jacare Souza Top 5 Finishes

Ronaldo Jacare Souza UFC MMA Jiu Jitsu UFC fight Highlight 2015

Jacare Souza Highlight: His Best Jiu-Jitsu Moments

Top 5 Submissions Ronaldo Jacare Souza | ADCC 2005


Photo credit: @RonaldoJacareSouza

Related Readings

Reading next

Gabrielle McComb Lima - BJJ Black Belt World Champion
Gabrielle McComb Lima - BJJ Black Belt World Champion

Leave a comment

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.