Paulo started getting noticed for his proficiency in MMA when he signed to Jungle Fight in 2008. After 4 consecutive wins in the promotion he was given an offer to face Josh Koscheck at UFC 95. Despite entering the ring as a four to one underdog, Paulo beat Koscheck in the first round by TKO and proved himself on the international stage.
Paulo Thiago fights have always been his secondary job. Day to day, he serves Brazil's elite police force Batalhão de Operações Policiais Especiais, the elite department of Brazil’s urban police. Captain Wesley Santos summarized their duties as "When society needs help, they call the police. When the police need help, they call BOPE.
He’s received massive ovations from hometown crowds while walking out to the theme song from Elite Squad, a Brazilian movie based on the BOPE.