Ricco Rodriguez (born August 19, 1977) is an American semi-retired mixed martial artist currently competing in the Heavyweight division . A professional competitor since 1999, he has competed for the UFC, PRIDE Fighting Championships, EliteXC, InternationalFight League, BAMMA, World Extreme Cagefighting, and Bellator. Ricco is a former UFC Heavyweight Champion , Mundials World Champion and also an ADCC World Champion . He is also the former King of the Cage World Heavyweight Champion .
Rodriguez grew up in the projects in Paterson, New Jersey . He is of Mexican and Puerto Rican descent. Rodriguez wrestled at Tottenville High School while living in Staten Island , New York . He later moved to California and began training in the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with Rigan and Jean Jacques Machado. He competed and won many Jiu-Jitsu tournaments before moving on to mixed martial arts .
In 1997 , Ricco Rodriguez became one of the small group of Americans to win a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championship , taking the Blue Belt Absolute title.