Arthur Ribas has been a crucial part of Amanda Ribas’ preparation for UFC fights. Now, he wants to join his sister in the cage.
The 28-year-old welterweight hasn’t fought since 2015, when he suffered his only loss as a professional fighter. But after working as his sister’s conditioning coach and corner in a win over Paige VanZant, he wants to give it another try.
Arthur Ribas holds a 5-1 record — Tapology only lists three of his victories, but he claims he stopped two opponents prior to a one-night, eight-man grand prix he won in 2014 — and recently started sparring again after many years away from the game.
“I’m gassing badly, but I’m getting better already,” Ribas said with a laugh in an interview with MMA Fighting. “I’m training with younger guys in the gym, and they have great cardio, are lighter and move a lot. I’m working really hard to get in shape again, and it’s been great.”
Arthur and his father Marcelo, who works as Amanda’s coach in Brazil, are currently in preliminary talks with a couple of MMA promotions for a late-2020 or early-2021 return to the cage.
“Seeing that hard work really pays off, that’s what really motivated me,” Arthur Ribas said. “You train and train hard, and the seeds you plan now will harvest down the line, even if you don’t believe it. That was a lesson to me.”
Encouraged by his father, a martial arts coach in Varginha, Brazil, Arthur began training jiu-jitsu at age two. Marcelo then signed him up for judo classes to improve his takedowns after he won a few jiu-jitsu tournaments at eight. Arthur was a talented judoka, joining the national junior team. He dreamed of winning a spot at the 2012 Olympics, but a couple of knee injuries forced him to change plans.
A year after his sole MMA loss under the Jungle Fight banner, Ribas was booked to compete at Max Fight 18 in his hometown of Varginha, a card headlined by his sister, but ended up fracturing his hand in training and had to go through months of physical therapy.
During his time away from MMA, Ribas got his bachelor’s and licentiate degree in physical education and taught classes in Varginha – until he fell in love with MMA again.
“I started watching Amanda and how everything started happening for her and that motivated me,” he said. “And I thought to myself, ‘It’s time to come back.’”
Amanda has become a celebrity in Varginha, according to her older brother. “Everyone follows her career in the UFC; people stop her at every corner to ask for a picture,” he said. That puts extra pressure on Arthur’s shoulders.
“We’re always with her, and every time she gives an interview here someone asks me, ‘What about you, Arthur, are you going to be as good as her?’” Ribas said. “There’s this pressure. But, of course, we know that every person has their own evolution. I’ll look up to her and try to be as good as her. That’s the focus, but not a pressure.”
As Amanda becomes one of the hottest prospects in the octagon in 2020, her brother hopes to leave a good impression in his return to competition to one day join her as the UFC’s first-ever brother-sister duo to compete on the roster at the same time.
“There are several brothers in the UFC, like the Nogueiras and the Diaz [brothers], and we think about doing something like that,” he said. “Marketing is everything, and we both can explore that.”