Remco Pardoel was an early MMA pioneer starting his career all the way back at UFC 2. The Dutchman was a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Judo and Taekwondo fighter. Recognised as one of the most well rounded fighters of the early years of MMA, Remco won fights inside the octagon by both knock out and submission. In a lot of ways he was ahead of his time, in a blossoming sport. Pardoel was one of the first MMA stars to come out of Europe and his influence continues to be felt in the sport.
So how did Remco get involved in MMA and the UFC?
“I was already involved in Judo and Sports Jiu Jitsu and won a few medals over the years. I saw a small advertisement if people wanted to compete in an open tournament, that was for UFC 1. The magazine was KO magazine from the old teacher of Gegard Mousasi, Ino Alberga. I replied and was selected for the second edition and the rest is sort of history.”
When asked about some of his favourite memories and accomplishments the Netherlands native said:
“I had a good run in Judo when i was a junior. When i entered Jiu jitsu I won all the tournaments, with the worlds included. UFC was a special moment… with zero experience I had some great lessons in the arts. It was different and you needed to adjust quickly. My first BJJ tournament was the Mundial of 1996. I was elected by Carlos Gracie Jr. to test my skills in the absolute of the black belt division. It was a awesome experience, which changed my life again.Winning the Europeans in BJJ. Winning two tournaments in one weekend. Saturday an MMA tournament in Amsterdam and Sunday winning the Europeans in fighting system of Jiu Jitsu”
But his most proud accomplishments?
“I am maybe more proud of what my students achieved in their careers and lives than my own titles to be honest”
What would he would like to be remembered for?
“I always assisted athletes in their career. They empowered their game and I gave some small simple adjustments to make the best run. My legacy, if you may speak about it is I introduced BJJ in Europe and my students are successfully coaching people in the UFC/MMA. There are not so many people which may say that.”
His advice to fighters worldwide?
“I love to see people evolve and stay close to themselves. Ego is a big thing in our communities. Always stay humble and let your results do the talking is my advice”
If he could have done anything differently in his career?
“Through one of my friends and students I got introduced to Ayahuasca (an entheogenic brew made out of Banisteriopsis caapi vine and the Psychotria viridis leaf) My student, (Wiggert) once told me: “everybody needs a mentor” and he suggested that Ayahuasca would be a great one for me. So if i regret something it's that I would have loved to have started with it when i was in my early 20's. It probably would have protected me more from some decisions and given me more opportunities.”
Another change he would have made:
“I would not have given so many people a second chance anymore. That was one thing I would change for sure”
Since finishing up his MMA career what has Remco been upto?
“I am always connected to martial arts and it is like the tide of the sea, sometimes I am more present. I am not the person which is self promoting to the max. So I am always more low profile. I always taught and tried to compete. After I said goodbye to my own gym, I had some bitter moments. My former student fucked me over which gave me some trouble. But you learn; I learned who is my friend and who is not. That is the good thing about it, Karma will do her work. I strongly believe in that one.”
To this day Remco Pardoel's elbows are some of the earliest and most vicious ever seen in the octagon. On an interesting side note Remco is also known as DJ Remco, and accomplished DJ.
Join us next time as I continue to talk to and celebrate the men who built the sport we all know and love.
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