DOB: June 1st, 1973
Gym: Kings MMA
Location: Huntington Beach, California
Martial Arts Background: MMA/Muay Thai
MMA Record: 4-2
Notable Fighters: Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio Rua, Anderson Silva, Lyoto Machida, Cris Cyborg
Rafael Cordeiro’s early years
Rafael grew up in the city of Curitiba located in the Brazilian state of Parana. At 13, he joined the famous Chute Boxe Academy and started training Muay Thai.
He became obsessed with the sport and trained every day. Within just 4 years, he had earned a black belt in Muay Thai from the academy. Upon earning his black belt at 17 and after competing in amateur Muay Thai, Cordeiro would go pro.
Rafael Cordeiro’s fighting career
For over a decade, Cordeiro would fight professionally in Muay Thai. Becoming the Brazilian lightweight champion of Brazil 3 times.
Chute Boxe also had Jiu Jitsu and Vale Tudo classes that Rafael also practiced in. He would have his first professional Vale Tudo fight in 1993 in a Capoeira vs Chute Boxe event.
Cordeiro would win his debut by cut and then win his next two fights 3 years later. In his 4th match, Rafael was DQ’d for grabbing the rope, but bounced back in his next fight. Winning the Vale Tudo lightweight championship by decision against Henry Matamoros.
His next fight would be a submission loss to Rumina Sato and would retire from competition after 13 years.
Coaching at Chute Boxe
After his fighting career was done, Cordeiro wanted to become a trainer and help young fighters. His academy, Chute Boxe brought him on as a trainer and he would help train some of the world’s best fighters.
He was the head striking coach of Chute Boxe during the glory days of Pride Fighting Championship. Coaching everyone from Wanderlei Silva and Shogun Rua when they were at their primes.
Rafael helped Chute Boxe become the premiere MMA gym in the world during the early 2000’s. Then later on in the decade while still with Chute Boxe, Cordeiro would train Anderson Silva during his dominant reign.
Rafael Cordeiro opens Kings MMA
After being a coach at Chute Boxe for 10 years, Rafael decided that he wanted to open his own school. He decided to step down as Chute Boxe’s striking coach and move to Huntington Beach, California.
This is where he would open his academy, Kings MMA. Since he had many fighters in the UFC it made sense that he have a MMA gym in the US.
He brought many fighters from Chute Boxe with him including the reigning UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva. As soon as he opened his gym in 2010, King’s MMA was immediately successful.
Many American fighters wanted to get the legendary Chute Boxe style training, Rafael was providing. He would go on to coach multiple MMA world champions after opening his academy.
Rafael Cordeiro notable fighters
In over 3 decades that Cordeiro has been coaching, he has coached numerous world MMA and Muay Thai champions. Within MMA, Rafael has helped lead his fighters multiple world championships
Some of his most notable students include Wanderlei Silva, Shogun Rua. Anderson Silva, and Cris Cyborg.
For a period of 5-10 years, the axe murderer was one of the most feared fighters on the planet. Silva was considered the most vicious fighter within Pride Fighting Championship.
Using his patented clinch and swarming striking to KO many of his opponents. Leading him to win the Pride Middleweight Championship and Grand Prix.
Wanderlei and Rafael would work together for over a decade until Rafael moved to open Kings MMA.
Shogun was the young star of Chute Boxe that Rafael helped train. While working with Cordeiro, Rua would go on to win 2 world titles.
The first being the 2005 Pride Middleweight Grand Prix at just 23 years old. Becoming the youngest champion in Pride history before going to the UFC after Pride closed.
Later on in 2010, Rua would win the UFC Light Heavyweight Champion from Lyoto Machida. One of only a few fighters to win both a title in Pride and the UFC.
Cyborg is without a doubt one of the best female fighters of all time. She has worked with Rafael for over 2 decades since she was a teen.
Cris personifies the patented violent Chute Boxe style. Winning every major MMA title in her 16 year career and going unbeaten for 13 years.
Rafael has been there for much of her success and will continue to help train Cyborg. She is currently the reigning Bellator Featherweight Champion.
Rafael Cordeiro and Mike Tyson
In 2020, Mike Tyson returned to boxing training and was put into contact with Rafael. The unlikely pairing led to a strong friendship between the two and Tyson’s competitive fire being reignited.
Throughout social media, fight fans started seeing videos of Mike Tyson doing mitts with Rafael. Looking like the former world champion and one of the world’s most dangerous boxers.
With Rafael in his corner, Tyson decided to come out of retirement for a boxing match to fight Roy Jones Jr. Millions of people tuned in to watch the legends compete one more time to a draw.
Rafael still works with Mike and they could have another potential fight in the future.
Rafael Cordeiro’s Legacy
Rafael Cordeiro has done so much for the sport of MMA and his fighters. He was one of the architects of the patented Chute Boxe Style that became world famous.
In his 20+ years of coaching Rafael has helped fighters win titles in every major MMA organization in the world. He has been awarded with Fight Magazine’s coach of the year award twice in 2012 and 2016.
At only 47, Cordeiro has done it all as a fighter and a coach. He is an all time great MMA coach and will look to continue adding to his legacy for years to come.