I met Ruben last NAGA Chicago, I had just gotten over tearing my bicep tendon and wasn’t able to carry the boxes full of swords. Ruben helped me out, and we spent the rest of the weekend talking about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, tournaments, and what it was like training in different areas. Ruben comes from Miami, an area that is brimming with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Ruben has had a rough past couple months, losing a close friend, and teammate, Peter Bivona, during Mundials. And most recently suffering a pretty severe injury he got during a no gi absolute match. The amazing thing about Ruben though, is he has accomplished so much already. I’m positive with his determination and passion for jiu jitsu, he will easily come back better and stronger. I can’t wait to see what he does when he gets back on the mats.
What is your belt rank?
Purple belt under Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu and Mike Cardoso
How long have you been training?
What team(s) do you train with?
I train with Fight Sports South Beach, Extreme MMA, Deninho BJJ, and Zen BJJ.
What are some of the bigger tournaments you have won?
I am Grapplers Quest Beast of the East Champion, and a winner of many super fights, and I have beaten many nig names, and submitted multiple brown and black belts.. I’ve won multiple Grapplers Quest and NAGA tournaments. I placed third at the Abu Dhabi trials. I am ranked number 1 in no- gi in Florida at 139 lbs.
What got you started in BJJ?
I use to do Aikido, and I heard about BJJ. So I watched videos and saw Royce Gracie kicking people’s ass so I left Aikido and went to BJJ.
How has BJJ influenced your life?
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is my life.
Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu, Mike Cardoso, Enrico Cocco, Master Deninho, Boca Olivera, Pedro Torres, Jordon Schultz , Hillary Williams, Mike Wacker, Renato Tavares, Xande and Saulo Ribero, Terere, Jeff Glover, Ryan Hall, Cobrinha, Rafael Mendes and Gui Mendes, Andre Galvao, Justin Rader, Rafael Lovato jr , Alexandre Pulga, Tarsis Humpreys, Marcelo Garcia, Patrick Leber, Emilio Urrtia, Jake Mackenzie, Marcel Goncalves, Incredible Ribiero, Pablo Popovitch and his team, Dustin ‘Clean’ Denes, Gabriel Samurai, and my big bro Ricardo Rezende.
What techniques have interested you recently?
Well I’m getting credit for my 50/ 50 guard a lot of people have been asking me about that and my half guard. But I have been interested in different types of guard passes and things you will see when I come back. I am starting to switch up my game a lot.
Can you explain a little what happened at your last tournament?
I broke my leg against bjj black belt and Bellator champion, Hector Lombard.
What are you doing to keep up with jiu jitsu?
I’ve been talking to my coaches and to my teammates. I have been reading read books watching videos and instructionals of many different players of the game. I have been visiting my teams at the school. I am still involved with community even though I'm out.
When do you get to start physical therapy, and how has everything been going since the surgery?
I'm getting stronger everyday. I just have to take it one day at a time. The physical therapist says I'm healing faster than she has ever seen someone, and making huge progress.
What are your plans when you get back to jiu jitsu?
I am just going to train lightly until I am back to 100 percent
Is there anything you would like to add?
I wanted to thank my family, God, coaches Cyborg Mike Cardoso Enrico Cocoo and Mestre Deninho, all I love dearly. To all my teammates I miss them and will be back soon. And last, a special shout out to Peter Bivona, my brother who will be missed. I love you and miss you bro. Jiu jitsu is not the same without you and you are deeply missed. And to Kaitlin for the interview and support. Thanks so much.