Under the tutelage of BJJ masters Hercules Baptista and Carlos Gracie Jr., Cardoso won seven national BJJ titles before going on to win five world championships, making her one of the most accomplished female grapplers in the world.
And while she was tearing up the grappling world, Cardoso had an eye towards MMA. As she recently told MMAWeekly.com, after her personal life pushed back her MMA debut, she is now ready to step into the cage and prove herself in a new arena.
“When I first started training jiu-jitsu I always had my eyes on MMA,” said Cardoso. “I was thinking about it a long time ago, but in 2008 I got married and (later) had a baby. But now my daughter is 3 years old and so now I can focus on training (for MMA).”
When asked if her success in the grappling world puts any pressure on her to succeed in MMA, Cardoso replied, “I do (feel pressure), but I just focus on doing my best.
“Like I do with everything in my life, I try to do my best and put my heart into it.”
Having previously begun training for MMA a few years ago, Cardoso has worked to develop the other aspects of her game to help compliment her world-class grappling skills.
“Right now, we are working a lot of stand-up and my coaches I’m working with are very good,” she said. “I’m not afraid of stand-up and I will be able to defend myself (standing) for sure.”
Still, when Cardoso makes her MMA debut on Saturday at CageSport 28 in Tacoma, Wash., against fellow debuting pro Katie Howard, she will not waste time making sure she puts the fight where she wants it.
“I am thinking that I’ve really got to be careful of her jab, and take the fight to the ground as soon as possible, that’s basically what I’ve got to do,” said Cardoso of facing Howard.
“I’ve got to be honest with myself first and understand what I have best and what I don’t have. What I don’t have best is stand-up, so it does not do me any good to be (standing) too long.”
There’s no denying that with her already impressive credentials, Cardoso could quickly ascend the ranks, but that’s not what’s foremost on her mind. She wants to take everything that comes her way one step at a time before seeing what comes next.
“One thing that I want to do is look at opportunities in front of me because they will pass just one time,” she said. “They’re not going to come as a second chance again, so you’ve got to take them.
“So right now I’m going to do this event and then after that I have the Pan Ams and then after that I will see what’s going to be the opportunities to come to me.”
(Photo courtesy of Elite Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu)