The path to greatness for Bruno Pucci has never been an easy one.

Pucci, a 29-year-old from Brazil who married Hawaii’s Angela Lee last year, accepted the first challenge of his life at just 11 years old when doctors told him he had a growth hormone problem.

Years later, Pucci has turned himself into an elite trainer at United MMA & Fitness Center in Waipahu alongside Lee, the reigning ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion. Together, they are helping to promote martial arts in Hawaii as a viable option for health fitness especially among the youth.

For Pucci, his life struggles have helped shape him into the man he is today.

“It was hard because every follow-up with the doctor was pretty exhausting,” Pucci said. “One day during a follow-up with the doctors, they recommended for me to start some sport to make things go back to normal.”

That is where Pucci’s father stepped in and set his son on his current road to greatness as a world champion. 

“My dad said, ‘Why don’t you try Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?’” Pucci remembered. “And then I decided to try. Training martial arts, specifically Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, for so many years made me more self-confident and gave me a strong mind.

“I never thought that I would become an athlete having this growth hormone problem.”

Through hormone replacement therapy and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Pucci would find success quickly, first on the local state scene before hitting it big on a larger level. 

In 2009 and 2010, “Puccibull” won the No Gi Grappling World Championship, earning five podium finishes in all in either Gi or No Gi at the highest level. He is now a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and owns a 7-3 record in mixed martial arts. 

Bruno Pucci // ONE Championship

Pucci made his professional mixed martial arts debut in 2011 and won his first three bouts, including his inaugural appearance with ONE when he submitted Bashir Ahmad in the opening round. Back-to-back wins via first round submission over Xie Chao and Kotetsu Boku have highlighted his latest run, along with marrying Lee. 

All five of Pucci’s victories with ONE have come via submission, as he has finished Ahmad, Chao, Boku, Jimmy Yabo and Anthony Engelen. Of those five opponents, only Engelen was able to survive the first round before falling to a rear-naked choke in the second. 

“I feel that I can go through any difficulty in life, either in my career or personal life, and I can overcome anything,” Pucci said. “Martial arts has changed my life in so many ways and I am very grateful for that.”

The power couple of mixed martial arts first met in 2015 while Pucci was training Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at Evolve MMA in Singapore. Lee, a Mililani graduate, made her debut around the same time with ONE Championship, scoring four wins in all during the calendar year.