Interview: Jorge “Macaco” Patino

“I have a vision in the cage. I can control what happens in there.”


Written By: AJ Hoffman

No one on the Houston MMA scene boasts a resume quite as impressive as Jorge Patino. “Macaco” has fought for PRIDE, Strikeforce, and even fought Pat Miletich for a UFC title. A product of the famed Chute Boxe, he himself has gone on to train the likes of Thiago Silva, Gabriel Gonzaga and Charles Oliveira. He himself is going to be back in the cage next month against Joe “Jitsu” Christopher. Macaco also talks about another possible matchup, that would be one of the biggest fights in the history of Houston MMA. Tell us a little bit about you. Where are you from and when did you start up in the arts?

MACACO: I am from Sao Paulo, Brazil. I started Judo when I was 7. When I was 17 I started doing Brazilian jiu jitsu under Marcelo Berihing. He died shortly thereafter, and I eventually got my black belt in 1998 under Octavio de Almeida, Jr. What level are you at now?

MACACO: I am a 3rd degree black belt in jiu jitsu and a first degree black belt in judo. Tell us about your grappling accomplishments.

MACACO: I am an 11 time NAGA Champion, 9 time Paulista Champion, 5 time International Master Champion, 4 time Copa Pacific Champion, 4 time United Gracie Champion, 4 time Grappler Quest Champion, 3 time Pan-American Champion, 3 time Rio x Sao Paulo Champion, 3 time Brazilian Champion, 3 time Black Belt Challenge Champion, 3 time Battle Houston Champion, 2 time IBJJ Houston Champion. I also have a 3rd and 4th place at the World Championships. When did you come to the United States and why did you come?

MACACO: I came here 3 years ago. I moved to Newark, NJ. I wanted to open a gym in the US. I opened Macaco Gold Team in Brazil 10 years ago and wanted to try and spread it to the United States. How were your early days in MMA?

MACACO: I first fought MMA in 1995 in Brazil. I was fighting in one night tournaments. My first tournament I won my three fights in 1:11 total. I started out 12-0. In 1999, you got your big break. Talk about your title fight in the UFC.

MACACO: The UFC called me. I was the top ranked fighter in Brazil. I had beaten many good Brazilian fighters. They offered me the fight with Pat Miletich for the 170 lb. title. At the time I was fighting at 185 lbs. I had to cut a lot of weight to take the fight. The rules were very different than anything I had ever done. The first round was 10 minutes. The next two rounds were 5 minutes each. I lost a point in the fight because I jumped and stomped him on the ground. This had never been a rule in Brazil. I did not understand the rule because at the time I didn’t speak any English. I put him down and I tried to be aggressive,but it was hard to make up for the point that I lost. It was also my first time fighting in a cage. It was difficult for me to get comfortable. I got him in a guillotine at the end of the fight. He was in trouble and he was fighting very hard to breathe, but he survived and won the decision. If I had a few more seconds, maybe it would be different. The UFC wanted me to stay and have more fights, but only at 170 lbs. I was young and bigger back then. I was not comfortable at that weight, so I moved on. You were one of the top guys from the famed Chute Boxe camp. How did you end up there and how was that experience?

In 2003 I fought in Meca World Vale Tudo. My opponent was Claudio das Dores. The fight was stopped because I had a cut. Referee stopped the fight, even though i wanted to continue. In Brazil the doctors do not decide if the fight continues. It is up to the fighter, and the fight shouldn’t have been stopped. I was bleeding badly, but wanted to keep fighting. I egged the crowd on and we restarted. I went on to finish him.  This opened Chute Boxe’s eyes to me. They were there watching and they liked that I never quit. I went to train with them after that. I trained with Rafael Cordero, Wanderlei Silva, Shogun Rua, Ninja Rua, Evangelista Santos (Cyborg) and Luiz Azaredo. It was great to train with so many great fighters. We all made each other better fighters. Your first fight after joining Chute Boxe was against Jacare. What sticks out to you from that fight?

MACACO: : This fight was a short fight, but he was a strong fighter then. I was his first fight. He fought hard but I won by knockout in the first round. I made him train harder and he went on to become a champion. You also got a fight with PRIDE. Talk about that experience.

MACACO: I loved to fight for PRIDE, because it was with the rules I was used to fighting under. I fought against Kazuo Misaki, who is very famous in Japan. He was a favorite of the fans. I fought him well, but he was a very tough opponent. He tried to choke me but I had to tell the referee I was ok. He won the decision against me, but I was never hurt in the fight. Your most recent fight was with Strikeforce here in Houston against Andre Galvao. Talk about that fight.

MACACO: Well, I took the fight on 1 week’s notice. I had to drop 16 lbs. in that week. I wanted to take the fight because it was a great opportunity for me to get back in a national show. Galvao is a black belt. He is a good ground fighter, and I like to make ground fighters stand. I like to make standing fighters go to the ground. I knew I had better standup than him, and I hit him a lot in the first round. I broke my hand though, and after that I could not fight as well. My best friend Cyborg was in my corner, and he told me to keep going, but I couldn’t hurt him. I don’t think they should have stopped the fight, but I never quit in that fight. They told me I would fight for them again when they come back to Texas. I was winning the fight until I got hurt. Of all these wars you have been in, plus great ones with Pele and Joao Bosco, which ones stick out as your favorite?

MACACO: The Jacare fight and the das Dores fight because of what they did for me with Chute Boxe, but my favorite was against Roberto Godoi. He was my old partner. He said he was going to kill me, but I killed him in that fight. That was my favorite fight. You also coach one of the up and coming stars in the UFC in Charles Oliveira. What type of potential do you think he has?

MACACO: Charles is a phenomenal kid. He has beat a lot of tough guys in Brazil, a lot of guys bigger than him. He is doing great things in the UFC. Sometimes it is tough because we aren’t always together. His last fight he couldnt come here for his training camp because of visa issues. I think that is partially why he lost. His next fight will be back to normal and we will have our usual camp. He is still very young. He has all the tools to get the title belt. If he trains hard and stays focused, he will be the champion someday. Do you prefer fighting or coaching?

MACACO: I love both. I prefer fighting though. I have a vision in the cage. I can control what happens in there. It is harder to watch your students fight and not have that control over what happens. Is that why you are starting to fight again after the hiatus you took?

MACACO: I want to prove to fans in US that I still have something. People think of me as a legend, but I am only 38 and I am pretty strong still. I want to show that I still have it. I want to win some local titles here in Texas and hopefully make one last run at a big show. Next up for you is Joe Christopher at King of Kombat in Austin. What do you think about Joe and how you match up?

MACACO: He has good cardio and good jiu jitsu. I think it is a good matchup for me though. I know he just fought here in Houston but I haven’t watched any film on him yet. Right now I am focusing on getting down to my weight and working on my cardio. Next week I will start game planning. I will find his mistakes and make the plan for beating him. There will be 4 fighters on that card representing Gold Team. Myself, Vagner (Curio), Luiz (Azaredo) and Victor (Pozas), who is making his pro debut. We are also using this interview to break a little bit of news. Legacy has set up a fight between you and Brian Melancon in June. Talk about that?

MACACO: We have agreed to fight. All that is left is to sign a contract. I hope this happens because Brian is a very good fighter. It is also important for me to fight in Houston again. I want my students to see me fight, and I want people here to know who I am and know about my gym.