Monique Ricardo is more than just a sight for sore eyes. The leggy 5'10" Virginia native is also a model, IFBB bikini pro, Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt, and three-time International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation world champion. Since placing eighth at the 2010 Bikini Olympia, Ricardo has scaled back her competition schedule significantly to focus more on her family and BJJ career. In 2014 she took the stage only once, earning 14th place at the Dallas Europa.
“Competing for world titles and doing bikini shows takes a lot of time,” she explains. “It’s hard to dedicate 12-14 weeks for a bikini competition and continue jiu-jitsu training. I like to give 110% to whatever I’m doing, and right now it’s jiu-jitsu.”
FLEX: Are we going to see you onstage at all this year?
MONIQUE: I’m not sure. My goal is to one day be in the jiu-jitsu Hall of Fame, and learning jiu- jitsu techniques, going to fight camps, and participating in tournaments are big-time investments.
Any interest in taking up mixed martial arts?
I might try my hand at MMA after I master grappling. It’s not out of the question.
Do you consider your time as a pro bikini competitor a net positive?
I’m thankful for my experience competing in the IFBB, and the discipline and work ethic it taught me.
Janet Layug, your younger sister, placed second at the Bikini Olympia last year. Does she often hit you up for advice?
Sometimes she calls and asks how to juggle things while traveling, or for tips for packing food or making it taste better.
“MY WORKOUT ROUTINES FOR BIKINI COMPETITIONS AND JIU-JITSU TOURNAMENTS ARE SIMILAR. I TRAIN HEAVY BEFORE SWITCHING TO HIGHER REPS TO ADD MORE CONDITIONING AS THE COMPETITION NEARS.” ~ Monique Ricardo