Stephen Antonio "Steve" Cardenas (born May 29, 1974) is a American martial artist and former actor, perhaps most noted for playing Rocky DeSantos in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series.
Cardenas was born at Langley Air Force Base, in Hampton, Virginia, but was raised in San Antonio, Texas. He is of half Mexican descent. He started training in martial arts when he was about 12 years old and reached black belt in tae kwon do at age 16. Steve Cardenas has been in martial arts for 28 years. He earned 5th degree black belt in tae kwon do and a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
His character, Rocky, replaced Jason Lee Scott (played by Austin St. John) as the Red Ranger in the Mighty Morphin Power Rangers TV series, and he later became the Blue Ranger for Power Rangers Zeo. He had no previous acting experience and had to learn on the job. Cardenas left the Power Rangers series after Zeo, in order to focus on his karate school and other disagreements. Many years later, starting at the 2007 Power Morphicon convention, he began making convention appearances with other former cast members. He has since appeared at Anime Expo 2009 and Power Morphicon 2010.
After Power Rangers, he owns a martial arts studio in Burbank, California and in Texas. In 2009, he started a kids-specific program at Hollywood Brazilian jiu-jitsu studio in West Hollywood, and in 2011 he opened the Force/Balance Brazilian jiu-jitsu & Yoga school. Cardenas had become interested in Brazilian jiu-jitsu after losing a friendly match against "a blue belt in BJJ... [he] choked me out in 10 seconds! He was only training for a year and a half at that time and I had been training for 10 yrs. It was an immediate eye opener." The style was more difficult for him to learn than other martial arts disciplines
He holds multiple awards from martial arts contests, including two Silver Medals at Copa Pacifica (2009 and 2011), Gold Medal winner of the 2009 American National Championship, Gold Medal in the 2010 Jujitsu Pro Gear Open, and Silver Medal in the 2010 No-Gi World Championships.