Location: Huntington Beach, California
Year Established: 2010
Founder: Rafael Cordeiro
Head Coach: Rafael Cordeiro
Notable Title Wins: UFC Heavyweight title, UFC Lightweight Title, UFC Women’s Featherweight Title
How was King’s MMA established?
King’s MMA was established in 2010 by Rafael Cordeiro after spending 3 decades at Chute Boxe. From 1999, when Cordeiro retired until 2008, Cordeiro was the main striking coach at Chute Boxe Academy in Curitiba, Brazil.
Cordeiro decided that he wanted to go out on his own to start his very own MMA academy. He moved to California in 2008 and eventually chose to open his gym, King’s MMA in Huntington Beach, California.
Bringing the patented Chute Boxe style of MMA to California.
Rafael Cordeiro is the own and head coach of King’s MMA. He started as a fighter and began training in the 80s at Chute Boxe Academy.
Winning multiple Brazilian national titles in Muay Thai and a world Pancrase Champion. What he is most known for by far is coaching some of the most vicious fighters in the world. The killers from Chute Boxe in the prime of their careers like Wanderlei Silva and Shogun Rua.
Cordeiro had been thinking about moving to the US for a long time and finally moved in 2008. Then opened King’s MMA in 2010.
In less than one decade, Cordeiro made his gym one of the best in the world. Being nominated for coach of the year 3 times, winning it twice, and leading King’s to a best gym nomination.
Cordeiro hired 4th degree black belt Ricardo Testai to run the Jiu Jitsu program at King’s MMA. Testai has over 30 years of experience and leads every type of Jiu Jitsu class at King’s. Teaching everyone from pro fighters to kids.
The other Muay Thai coach at King’s is Brazilian MMA fighter, Leonardo Mafra. He is Chute Boxe Muay Thai black belt that has trained directly under Rafael Cordeiro for years. When he isn’t competing in MMA, he is coaching Muay Thai classes at King’s.
Notable King’s MMA fighters
King’s in its 11 years of existence has had numerous top tier fighters that train with Cordeiro in his gym. Multiple UFC, boxing, and BJJ champions call the gym home. Here are a few of the most known King’s MMA fighters.
UFC TUF winner and middleweight contender, Kelvin Gastelum does nearly all his training at King’s. For most of his career, Kelvin has had his training camps at King’s. Fighting the top fighters in the world at welterweight and now middleweight.
After Gastelum won TUF 17, he would go on to win his first 4 UFC fights. Going 10-0 before losing his first pro MMA fight.
In Gastelum’s career, he has beaten numerous top fighters like Michael Bisping, Nate Marquardt, Jacare Souza, and Tim Kennedy. Fighting for the interim middleweight title in losing effort, but was a 2019 FOTY candidate.
He is still among the top middleweights in the world and is alway in the mix to fight for the title.
Rafael dos Anjos
There are very few fighters that have had the longevity of Rafael dos Anjos. He has been fighting for nearly 20 years and still fights the best in the sport. From 2012-2016, he made King’s MMA his home gym.
This was the peak of dos Anjos’ career going 10-3 in 13 fights. Which included winning the lightweight championship after beating numerous top 10 fighters and former champion Benson Henderson. He would win the title from Anthony Pettis and defend it once against Donald Cerrone.
Fabricio Werdum has spent the prime of his MMA career training at King’s MMA with Cordeiro. Once Werdum began his 2nd in the first years of King’s existence sharpening his striking skills.
Werdum would go on a 6 fight win streak upon returning to the UFC. This included winning the interim heavyweight title by submitting Cain Velasquez in Mexico at UFC 188.
After losing the title, Werdum would go 3-4 in the UFC to finish his contract with the organization. He is now signed to a long term deal with the MMA promotions PFL.
Cordeiro had been Cris Cyborg’s striking coach ever since she started training at Chute Boxe. She has frequently trained on and off with her original striking coach throughout her illustrious career.
Cyborg has used the patented aggressive Chute Boxe style that Raphael taught to win a title in every major MMA promotion. Including the UFC featherweight title, Strikeforce featherweight title, Invicta title, and now holding the Bellator featherweight title.
She is one of the greatest female fighters ever and will continue adding to her legacy.
One of the rising stars at King’s is the young Italian UFC fighter Marvin Vettori. At first, Vettori didn’t hit his stride in the UFC going 2-2-1 in his first 5 fights.
But after losing a close split decision to current champion Israel Adesanya, a fire lit inside Vettori. Since the loss, Vettori has gone on a 5 fight win streak and hasn’t lost in 3 years.
At 28, we will likely see him fight for the title soon and stay within the top 10 middleweight rankings.
King’s MMA and Mike Tyson
In the last year, Rafael Cordeiro and King’s MMA have been in the news frequently. The reason for this being that former boxing champ and legend Mike Tyson started training again at the gym.
Numerous training videos with millions of hits showed that Mike looked to be in fighting shape. He would make a comeback in his early 50s against another legend Roy Jones Jr. in an exhibition match.
After the match Tyson has continued training at King’s and wants to fight again.
The legacy of King’s MMA
For decades, Rafael Cordeiro has made the gyms he coaches at one of the best in the world. He made his dream of owning his own gym in the US.
King’s MMA is considered one of the best MMA gyms in the world. Being nominated for gym of the year in 2016 and coach Rafael winning best coach that year and in 2012.
The gym produces some of the best fighters in the world and will continue for years to come.