When Alexandre Ferreira left his comfortable home at the luta livre-based Brazilian Top Team in 2008, he thought his MMA career was over. He hadn’t trained for eight months, and the five-foot-seven, 205-pound bull of a fighter was ready to call it quits after a decade in the sport. On a whim, he made his cell phone number public to trainers and promoters alike, hoping that he may get one last shot at a small camp that would allow him to finish his career on his own terms.
Much to his surprise, Cacareco’s phone rang just two days later, and on the other end was a man that he never imagined would call. Rudimar Fedrigo, the leader of BTT rival Chute Boxe, wanted Ferreira on his team. Just years earlier, Cacareco had been deeply entrenched in the rivalry between the luta livre specialists at BTT and the Muay Thai fighters at Chute Boxe when a brawl broke out between him and Chute Boxe member Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos after one of his two wins over Chute Boxe members.
“This invitation from Rudimar was a great lesson in my life,” Ferreira said at the time of his transition to Chute Boxe. “We can’t be arrogant because life is like a big circle. In the most difficult moment of my career, it was the person who I expected least that offered his hand and invited me to be part of this team.”
Now two years older and with two more impressive victories under his belt, the 30-year-old is ready to make a big impact in mixed martial arts. Already a favorite of hardcore fans who followed him through his up-and-down career in the early days of the sport, Cacareco now looks to continue his impressive journey through a sport that was illegal in most of the United States when he found it.
The Rio de Janeiro, Brazil native started his career with a willingness to fight anybody at anytime, and his record showed the battles that he had been through. After beginning his career with a disqualification loss, Ferreira went on an eight-fight win streak, including two impressive showings in the no holds barred World Vale Tudo Championships that saw him win the one-night tournament once and then nearly win a second time before being injured. The eight-fight win streak for the then 21-year-old Ferreira saw him earn victories over the likes of PRIDE veterans Heath Herring, “Dirty” Bob Schrijber, and Shannon Ritch, making him one of the hottest prospects in the sport.
Cacareco then went to Japan in the RINGS organization, but back-to-back losses to Hiromitsu Kanehara and Chris Haseman started a four-fight win losing streak that dropped the Brazilian’s record to a middling 8-5 overall. But since losing to Miquel de Souza in 2004, Cacareco has gone on an impressive streak that has saw him win ten of his past eleven fights, with all ten victories coming via submission in the first round. Perhaps even more impressive, however, is his seven fight win streak dating back to 2007. In the seven fights, Cacareco has spent just a total of nine minutes in the ring, including stopping four of his opponents in less than a minute.
The dominant streak earned the highly respected fighter a call from the UFC, where he was offered a fight with former UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Lyoto Machida. The top-ranked fighter declined to fight the fast-rising prospect. Machida instead faced another Brazilian in Thiago Silva, who he easily defeated en route to earning a title shot and becoming a seemingly unbeatable champion. All of that is not lost on Cacareco, who would still like to fight the former world champion. “It would be a very hard fight for him,” Cacareco said. “My style would make him confused. He knew I would take him down and submit him, for sure.”
A brilliant wrestler who went undefeated in more than sixty wrestling matches as an amateur, Cacareco brings a dominant well-rounded grappling style to mixed martial arts that has rarely been seen before. With one of the most impressive double leg takedowns in the game, Ferreira never has much trouble getting a fight into his realm.
After signing with fast-rising Shine Fights late in 2009, Cacareco was quick to disclose his goals in his new home: “I want to be the champion,” he stated simply. “I don’t want to know who [to fight], I just want to know when.” Unfortunately for Ferreira, his scheduled fight at the organization’s May event was cancelled at the last minute, leaving him to wonder once again where to go next.
To make things worse, Cacareco has still not been paid what he was promised after the cancellation of the Shine event. Regardless, the well-rounded fighter is ready to move on and is willing to fight any fighter in the world at 185 or 205 pounds.
Fighting in the United States has always been a goal of Ferreira, who has said once again that he’ll face anybody at anytime and in any place: “Lately, I have no idea how many times I had to answer the following questions: Why aren´t you fighting for a big event and what famous names in the game do you think you would beat?,” Cacareco said.
“The answer to the first question is hard, because it doesn’t depend only on me. I believe that I have what it takes to be in any show in the world. The answer to the second question is not that difficult: after seeing some light-heavy-weights that are in the best shows, I can say, with no doubts in my mind that I would do well against most of them. I have a unique way of fighting, I can go toe-to-toe with anybody and, as soon as I lay my hands on them, they know they will get submitted.”
“Since Lyoto [Machida] refused to face me in the UFC, people love when I tell them the names of fighters I´d submit. So, for starters, Gegard Mousasi would be a good name. I was offered to fight him last event [at DREAM], but it seems like he preferred to have an easier opponent, somebody who couldn’t even make weight. From the UFC Tito Ortiz, Forrest Griffin, Rashad Evans, Keith Jardine, Stephan Bonnar, and all those fighters that come from The Ultimate Fighter reality show; Jon Jones, King Mo, Jeff Monson, Dan Henderson, well, there are so many names out there that it’s too hard to mention, and I’m just listing fighters at 205, because light heavyweight is the division I want to focus on right now.”