Cristiano Marcello (left) has his sights set on a big show. | Dave Mandel/

Cristiano Marcello is back, and he is looking to make a splash.

In 2007, the former Chute Boxe Academy representative left active competition for over two years in order set up his own gym, CM System. Returning to the ring in 2010, the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt fought four times, winning three of those contests. Since he restarted his MMA career, Marcello has fought primarily for the Bitetti Combat promotion in his native country, avoiding the judges’ scorecards in each of his four fights.

“I think everything is going well [since I’ve returned to competition]. Most of my fights haven’t gone past the first round,” Marcello told “[I am] showing a lot of technique and aggressiveness, which is what I think the public wants to see most.”

Now the Pride Fighting Championships veteran is looking for another fight, possibly against old nemesis Charles Bennett. Marcello and “Krazy Horse” have tangled once before, though never in a sanctioned MMA contest. The pair met backstage at Pride Shockwave 2005 following a verbal dispute between Bennett and the Chute Boxe camp. The scuffle, which was famously caught on tape and posted on the Internet, ended when Bennett lost consciousness while caught in a tight triangle choke.

Though Marcello says a fight today would not be personal, he feels there is a large contingent of MMA fans who would like to see such a bout.

“I think it was simply a lack of professionalism and a lack of respect on his part that brought things to a head in the locker room [in 2005],” Marcello said. “To tell you the truth, [I am not interested in] him as an athlete [or] person, but I see this as an interesting fight for any event just based on the fact that there is a large audience that wants to see it. But for me, I think there are a lot more interesting fights with the top guys in Strikeforce or the UFC. The only reason I would fight Krazy Horse now would be to put on a good show.”

Fighting for a major promotion is now one of the Brazilian’s primary goals. But if the lightweight does sign with a big show, he will not be happy to simply be there. He desires gold.

“The dream of every athlete at the end of the day is to have the belt in a big event. In my life, everything I do, I do with fidelity,” he said. “In Strikeforce or any other large event, my goal is to make my history within that event, put in my time and retire there.”

Several of Marcello’s former Chute Boxe brothers have found a home with the UFC, and the submission ace claims that he would welcome a reunion with his old teammates.

“Being in a big event is great and even more so with old friends,” said Marcello. “We all have a history together, and for sure life has separated us, but it would be great to work with everyone again.”

When asked what he would like to accomplish with the rest of his career, Marcello answered twice -- once as a fighter and once as a trainer. However, one quality in particular was common to both responses: excellence.

“My goal is to make my gym one of the best and to help produce some of the best athletes in the world, just like I did with my old team,” he said. “And as a fighter, [I want to] get into a big event and eventually become the champion. I think I still have a lot to show as a fighter. I’m just waiting for my chance.”

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