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Rodrigo Medeiros

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Read our exclusive Bas Rutten Interview

Name: Bas Rutten

Nick Name: El Guapo

Record: 26 - 4 - 1

Height: 6'1 / 185.42 cm

Weight: 220 lbs / 100 kg

Style: Submission Fighting

Birth Date: 2/24/1965

City: Tilburg

Country: Holland

Favorite techniques: Kicks, to the head, body, legs! Everything hard!

Idols: Bruce Lee, Jakie Chan, Quentin Tarantino, and Oscar De La Hoya

Favorite fighter: Kazushi Sakuraba

Shortest Fight: 43 sec.

Longest fight: 28 min.

Undeafeated 3 x King of Pancrase

Former UFC Heavyweight Champion

Undefeated since 3-10-95

3rd Degree Black Belt: Kyokushin

2nd Degree Black Belt: Tae Kwon Do

2nd Degree Black Belt: Karate

Certified MTBN Thai Boxing Instructor

Certified Pancrase Instructor 

"Keep everything simple, don't try anything crazy and all your strikes 
must be hard! NOTHING WEAK, no jabs or weak attacks".
Bas Rutten

El Guapo means "The handsome". Bas Rutten just thought that it would be funny to take that name since he already called himself "The most handsome fighter in NHB". If they are introducing him somewhere, they always say; "And also in the audience we have the self proclaimed, most handsome fighter in NHB, Bas Rutten"!
Bas Rutten was one of the first stand-up oriented fighters able to survive against mixed martial arts monsters. He started as a kickboxer, but later came to Japan and became the legend of the Pancrase organization, where he became known for his brutal palm strikes and merciless knees. After capturing the King of Pancrase crown, he came to the UFC where he defeated Tsyoshi Kohsaka and Kevin Randleman to become the UFC Heavyweight Champion. He was just 205 pounds.

He was born in Holland in a town called Tilburg on the 24th of February 1965. He was born with a skin disease and asthma, which became worse as he got older. He also had rheumatism at the age of six. Bas always liked sports but it was very difficult because of his diseases to compete in any sport he chose. He started training in martial arts when he was 14. He had begged his parents for permission a long time before that. When he could finally get his parentís permission to begin training , he broke a kid's nose in a fight, so they stopped him from training. Then he started again when he was 21

Karate and Tae Kwon Do were the first martial arts he took. Because he really wanted to compete in Martial Arts and at that time Karate and Tae Kwon Do were semi-contact sports, he started to train in Thai boxing, which was full contact, and he liked that much better. He became Dutch Champion and the number two fighter in the world. He was undefeated after 14 fights and won everything by KO.

Once, a week before he was scheduled to fight, Bas got into a little trouble with the law and had to spend four days in jail. He decided to fight anyway but he also was dealing with an infection he was taking medication for. He knocked his opponent down repeatedly in the first round but he could not come out for the second round. After all the adoration he had enjoyed, the fans turned their backs on him. Bas was shocked. He found out the bad side about losing. People turn their backs on a fighter real fast. This was amazing. So he decided never to fight anymore in Holland.

Bas, along with a friend, started doing some martial arts shows in Nightclubs and Discos. They made quite an impression and soon they were "discovered" and did some shows on TV. 
On one of these shows, a guy named Chris Dolman came to him and asked him if he was interested in fighting in Japan, free-fighting was what he called it. Japan was not Holland (Bas didn't want to fight for the Dutch people anymore) so he became interested. "Come to my school in Amsterdam" he said, "so we can see what you can do". The next week Bas was off to his school.

  One day, Chris Dolman called him and asked him to come to his Dojo because there were some Japanese guys at the Dojo who where looking for new fighters for their organizations called "Pancrase". Bas came and tried out for them and they really liked him from the beginning.
About five weeks later he was off to Japan and fought his first fight. He won that fight in 43 seconds and the next day he was in all the newspapers. He couldn't believe it! Martial arts was so big in Japan, it was unbelievable. Now, that was the beginning of his fighting career.

His specialty was striking and the Japanese fighters quickly realized this. This resulted in a few losses, his opponents took him to the ground because they knew that was not his specialty. After his third loss, he decided not to train striking anymore but focus himself totally on groundwork (submissions). 

After that decision he never lost a fight any more and even became "The King of Pancrase" as they call the heavyweight world title in Japan. He defended that title two more times and resigned as undefeated world champion with a winning streak of 22. 

Bas always wanted to go to America to try his luck as an actor. He thought that his title would help him in the US, so he moved to America. 

Once there, he realized that nobody but the Martial Arts people knew who he was. Everybody knew about the Ultimate Fighting Championship so he decided to go to the UFC and try to become a world champion there. He did that and soon he became the UFC Heavyweight Champion. 

He was also concentrating on his acting and that got him a part as guest star on a TV show called "Martial Law". He did another little part for the show called "The King of Queens" and after he became the UFC Champion one more show called "18 Wheels of Justice".

Bas (with the help of  his manager Don Clovis), recently created the Bas Rutten Academy. The e-mail address is  basruttenacademy@hotmail.com .

Some more info...

  • Bas has a certain rule when he is training for a fight: He trains until he passes out. All of his strikes are hard, no jabs or anything weak. If his fight is going to be 10 Minutes, then he wants to be able to fight for 30.
  • Bas believes that no-holds barred fighting will grow once people start understanding the techniques. According to him, right now people don't understand the submissions like leg locks & stuff like that.
  • Bas would like to fight Ken Shamrock again, because he was the only one who beat him. When they fought together, Bas didn't know any submission, but after that fight, he started training in grappling two times a day and he has had 26 straight wins since then.
  • While Bas prefers fighting he actually believes in kata (prearranged martial arts movements) which is unusual among most UFC fighters. He believes that it is very good for controlling your breathing. To go through 45 movements and have your last kick be as powerful is very difficult.
  • Bas likes Marco Ruas, Pedro Rizzo, Leon van Dijk, Genkie Sudo, Omar Bouiche, Amir Rahnavardi and Duane Ludwig. These are his friends too and because they are good people AND good fighters they are his favorites. Then we have Sakuraba, Mike Burnett, Uno, Tito, Jens Pulver, BJ Penn, Guy Mezger, Murillo Ninja, Vanderlei Silva etc. His real favorite is Sakuraba though.

The Rutten Jump

  • Rutten's trademark is the so-called "Rutten Jump". When he won his first fight in Pancrase, he was so hyped that he jumped up in the splits to each side of the ring. It became his trademark and he had to do it after every fight that he won. Bas has been working a lot on grappling, especially takedown defense. Bas  trains with wrestlers, submission specialists, and Thai Boxers in preparation for his fights. Bas believes that he should have started earlier with learning how to defend himself for a take down. Also in Pancrase a fighter goes more for submissions on the ground while in the UFC he should strike more. Bas believes that when a fighter is in a mount position it is better to strike than go for an arm bar because if his opponent escapes that arm bar he will lose his good position.
  •  Everybody knows that his favorite finishing move is to take people out by hitting them on their liver, so a body shot to the right side of body, or ANY body shot. But, he likes to use every move... punching, kicking, kneeing, and submitting. People see him as a striker but he is also pretty good on the ground. He hasnít shown it yet  in the States, but in Pancrase he submitted many opponents. He actually submitted more people then he KO'd.