There are plenty of clichéd terms in the world of sports. Any fan, pundit or athlete has probably caught themselves using one on occasion. These terms can induce the deepest of eye rolls, but they can be very accurate, too. Take the term “true martial artist” in MMA. It’s a cliché, for sure, but it’s also a very apt description of Legacy Fighting Alliance lightweight Arthur Estrázulas.
“I started fighting before I actually started training,” the Brazilian native, whose background includes jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai, told Combat Press. “When a challenge comes, I always say yes. I never say no.”
Not every one of those challenges has gone his way. Estrázulas lost his debut fight in Muay Thai, which he attributed to his longtime practice of jiu-jitsu.
“But I really enjoyed it, and the promoter told me I was really tough and should train more,” Estrázulas said.
He made his debut in mixed martial arts in 2010. The 29-year-old has won eight of his first 10 pro MMA fights.
“I had a coach who helped me combine what I did with my jiu-jitsu and Muay Thai,” Estrázulas explained. “I had a couple fights with Vale Tudo in Brazil, and when I first watched it, I never thought I would do it. I started fighting MMA because I wasn’t as good in Muay Thai — I didn’t have the technical background that I did in jiu-jitsu. I moved to the U.S. five years ago to train at Kings MMA, and it was a blessing to do that.”
Estrázulas works on his skills with some of the most well-known fighters at Kings MMA, including Beneil Dariush, Lyoto Machida, Fabricio Werdum and Kelvin Gastelum, the latter of whom Estrázulas described as an “inspiration” following Gastelum’s interim middleweight title bout against Israel Adesanya at UFC 236 in April.
“All my teammates are an inspiration,” Estrázulas said. “Kelvin was putting his heart out there in his fight, and Master Rafael Cordeiro lives the martial-arts lifestyle and relates to us what he believes.”
After competing in large regional organizations like King of the Cage and the former Resurrection Fighting Alliance, Estrázulas’ journey in the martial-arts lifestyle made a detour to a bout in GLORY Kickboxing in March 2018, where he won his debut by second-round TKO.
“It gave me more confidence, and I really enjoyed it,” Estrázulas said of his experience in GLORY. “I would like to do more kickboxing. Muay Thai helped me grow as a person. It’s something I do for life, and I’ll never stop training to be a better fighter and a better person. I’ll accept any challenge.”
In 2018, Estrázulas made appearances with Bellator MMA and the Professional Fighters League. He won his lone Bellator bout by rear-naked choke over Mike Segura, and he described the fight as “amazing” — mainly because the event took place at the Forum in Inglewood, Calif., where Estrázulas competed in front of his students and teammates from Kings MMA.
Estrázulas came up short in his only bout during the PFL’s inaugural season when he lost a split decision to UFC veteran Thiago Tavares.
“I remember people talking about PFL years ago,” Estrázulas said. “It felt like a brand-new show, and I think they will grow. The points system means fighters have to fight anyone in their division. It’s not the same journey as in other places.”
Although Estrázulas, who sports an overall record of 10-4, noted a desire to also fight in Japan’s Rizin Fighting Federation, his next stop is the Legacy Fighting Alliance, where he will face Steve Kozola, who holds a 9-2 mark, at LFA 69 on Friday, June 7.
“I plan to put my wild side out there, and people will know my style,” Estrázulas said. “I’m not afraid to die in the cage, and I really want to test myself and fight the best guys and show what I can do.”
Since Estrázulas has already competed in most of the major MMA organizations, his goal for the time being is to continue to grow as a martial artist.
“I can always improve my technique,” Estrázulas said. “The Arthur you see this week will be different from my last fight, and we’ll see what the next 10 to 15 years brings.”