Rani was born in September 12th 1984 in Brazilia, the Capital of Brazil. His first approach to Martial Arts came through Judo, a discipline his parents wanted him to take. When he was 11 years old, due to the hype envolving Jiu Jitsu was receiving at the time through the UFC events, he asked his parents to enroll him in the gentle art.
Rani’s talent shined through early on, being the world’s youngest world champion ever when he won the Mundial (blue belt juvenile category) at the age of 14. This is stated in his interview to Tatame Magazine on May 29th, 2007. When Rani was 17 years old he won the World Championships again, in the faixa roxa division (purple belt) and the following year he received the brown belt from his master, Athaide Junior, the man who stood beside Rani for most of his career.
After being introduced in 2004 to Rickson Gracie by a friend in common, the Gracie invited Rani to go and train at his academy in California. Accepting the invitation Yahya spent most of a year with the Jiu Jitsu legend polishing his techniques. In an interview to “Terramagazine” in 2009 he also stated that in his time with Rickson he learned some good nutrition tips that helped his overall life quality.
By the time Yahya won his brown belt, all his focus wasgearing towards MMA and no gi grappling competitions, having won his first fight in MMA 2 days after turning 18 years of age. In 2003, Rani made it to the big stage of Grappling tournaments, the ADCC finals. He achieved lost in the Quarter Finals of the event to Leonardo Vieira, and the battles between Leo Vieira and Rany would be some of the tournament’s high points for years to follow, as in 2005 and 2007 the two Brazilians clashed again with split results. The 2005 match going to Leozinho Vieira in a very tough fight which had to be decided in the overtime, and the 2007 fight going to Rany Yahya.
In an interview to the Brazilian Press at the end of 2007 (after his submission victory over Leo Vieira at the ADCC), Rany stated that much of his strangle hold’s techniques came from the teachings of his Master Athaide and his study of the snakes. Athaide is a Biologist specialized in snake behavior and he bases many of his techniques on the way he sees snakes acting when straggling their preys.
In trying to improve his overall game for MMA, Rani has travelled around the world looking for the best people to train with him. Amongst those people UFC Champion Randi Couture, Pride Champ Dan Henderson, Jiu Jitsu Legend Rickson Gracie, BJJ World Champions Champion Saulo and Xande Ribeiro and many others.