(Ribeiro could bring BJJ back to the UFC’s 205-pound class)
In a recent interview with TATAME, multiple time ADCC and World Jiu-Jitsu Championships winner Xande Ribeiro cryptically revealed that the next time he competes in mixed martial arts, it could very well be inside the UFC’s Octagon this fall.
Although just 2-0 in his young MMA career, Ribeiro looked like a seasoned pro in his first two bouts. Displaying a surprisingly well-rounded combination of striking and grappling, he defeated Takashi Sugiura by TKO in 2008 and Keiichiro Yamamiya by knockout in 2009 – both under the Sengoku banner. According to Ribeiro, the reason why he hasn’t been very active in the ring or cage is because the priorities the past few years have been to compete in jiu-jitsu and grappling competitions and to run the California-based University of Jiu-Jitsu academy he co-owns with his brother, Saulo.
The 29-year-old Brazilian-born fighter says that he now wants to focus more on MMA and is looking to prove that a fighter with a jiu-jitsu base can be as dominant as Royce Gracie was back in the day and has his sights set on the UFC’s 185-pound division as a platform in which to plead his case.
"I had a contract with [Sengoku in] Japan, but when Japan went through a tough phase, the event was canceled and they did not continue with what they had to do. They had to give me two fights, but didn’t give me any. I would do another event [with them] here in America, but the contract wasn’t very good, the clauses weren’t nice. We work on our name within Jiu-Jitsu for a long time and a lot of MMA people start saying things about Jiu-Jitsu. I will keep on worshiping Jiu-Jitsu, so I’ll fight with who worships the sport and me. It didn’t happened, but [I'm] in negotiation with another event, which I can’t speak right now, but let’s wait and see it goes on the right way so I can fight on September. As I said, my main focus in MMA was not fighting strong. Of course I wanted to fight, but my focus was on the lessons I could learn from it, the getting stronger part, my evolvement on Wrestling and Boxing, so I can be ready when I step on the ring. A lot of people train to fight and now I’m training to learn. When I step on the ring again, with God’s help, it will be on UFC’s, and I hope I’m in a good shape so that I can represent well our Jiu-Jitsu and show my evolvement in the last years."
According to an interview Ribeiro did with FiveOuncesofPain earlier this year, he is contracted to Sengoku until August, but would be free to fight for any organization after that, at which time he will drop down to compete at middleweight.
If he comes to terms with the promotion, Ribeiro will join his student, Diego Sanchez on the UFC’s roster.