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10 Best Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters

Last Updated: 08.05.19


Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art and combat sport that has recently gained quite a lot of popularity worldwide. The rules of the fight focus on grappling and ground fighting, suggesting that a small and weak person can defend themselves against much bigger and more powerful opponents just by using a correct strategy and technique. The sport has evolved since it can be used as a good way of self-defense by those who live in dangerous areas.

Like in most combat sports, those taking part are categorized according to their body weight in classes such as Middleweight or Heavyweight. The champions are restricted to their category only.

Carlos Gracie

Credited with the development of modern BJJ, the Brazilian martial artist is one of the most celebrated sportsmen in this type of martial art. His training programs, diets, and techniques are landmarks followed by many other wrestlers. Many of his children went on to become world-famous fighters, and his family is widely credited as having played a key role in the appearance of this  .

Carlos Gracie had a 10th degree Red Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, being considered a Jiu-Jitsu grandmaster. His biography was published in 2009, and an English translation was also made available. Overall, he is one of the most acclaimed and appreciated BJJ fighters.


Ronaldo Jacare Souza

Belonging to the Middleweight category, the Brazilian fighter has had a number of great victories and a fantastic career ever since he started taking part in the championships. He has successfully obtained a number of submission wins against various other athletes, making his way to the top of Strikeforce Middleweight Division and, later, to the UFC.

He is appreciated by fans and professional athletes alike because his technique and style is a landmark for the modern day sport. Ronaldo Jacare Souza owns a black belt, and he was trained and recruited by Henrique Machado, who saw potential in the child.

Besides from being unrivaled in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, he also has one of the best scores recorded, making him a favorite and top of the list.


Roger Gracie

A member of the Gracie family and grandson of Carlos Gracie, one of the modern developers of the sport, Roger Gracie is one of the best fighters in the world, having been awarded a black belt by his own cousin in 2003. He is also the founder and head instructor at an academy in London, England, a training facility where he lectures the future champions.

Fans had high hopes when he made his first steps in the world of MMA. He has won a number of submission victories against several experienced fighters in the Middleweight category.

After suffering a defeat in a fight with King Mo Lawall, his career ran into some trouble, but there is hope that future matches will prove more successful.


Bibiano Fernandes

Belonging to the Featherweight category, Bibiano Fernandes is one of the most acclaimed sportsmen of this type, having been nicknamed ”The Flash” for his speed and for how quickly he finishes matches. Born in 1980 în Manaus, he had a tough and sad childhood but discovered the sport after some men who trained in the sport spotted him on the streets.

The men saw his natural talent after he won his first competition after only a few weeks in the training halls. He became famous for pushing the pace and searching submission wins, losing only five times during his career. Winning a black belt in 2002, he is one of the most appreciated fighters both by fans and sportsmen.


Fabricio Werdum

From the lightest players according to their body mass, we turn to the Heavyweight category with the Brazilian wrestler Fabricio Werdum. He is one of the most acclaimed fighters in the world, known for his power and size; starting the sport after he got into a fight with another boy who defeated him using techniques common to BJJ, he enlisted and joined an academy.

He moved to Spain, and it was in 2002 when he premiered in MMA in Europe. Continuing to train himself and others in the sport, he won the World Gold Medal and was later invited to help other fighters with their training. He opened academies and continued wrestling, currently, he is a fan favorite.


Clark Rouson Gracie

One of the few non-Brazilian sportsmen included in this list is Clark Gracie, who, despite being a member of the Gracie family, was born in the U.S.A. He is the eldest son of Carley Gracie, who brought the sport to the USA.

His achievements are numerous and include winning the black belt in America after submitting his opponent with a signature move, and a 2017 World Master black belt in the Middleweight division. His training began when he was only ten years old, at his father’s academy, where he would practice with adults since the sport was not popular enough to attract new children.


Vinny Magalhaes

The Light Heavyweight champion is appreciated by fans for his amazing performances and successful matches. He started training in 1998 and developed a style that seeks submission at all cost, before anything else.

He moved to the USA in 2004 where he enlisted for a free coaching spot at Gracie Academy. Overall, he scored 29 wins and is one of the most well-known fighters and coaches these days.

Rousimar Palhares

Despite his modest start and humble childhood, Rousimar Palhares started training at 15 years of age, under the coaching of Iran Brasileiro. He competed in a few shows organized by his gym and understood that he had potential to fight on a bigger stage but for that, he required professional training.

In spite of the terrible poverty, his ambition won him the Brazilian trials after defeating serious opponents. Palhares rose to fame and received his black belt in late 2007. Since then, he competed in many other shows and won even though he had some discipline problems in 2009 and 2010.


Demian Maia

This middleweight fighter is one of the most popular Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu sportsmen, gaining a worldwide fan base for his performances. A former ADCC champion, the titles he possesses prove that he is one of the best submission grapplers in the world. Unfortunately, he lost by decision to the best fighter in his division.

However, he has natural skill, and his talent has not gone unnoticed. He had a first contact with the world of martial arts when he was only 4, but only when he was 19, he got into BJJ. With a total of 24 wins, he is a celebrated sportsman.


Gilbert Burns

A Lightweight Brazilian fighter who started training at a very young age, Burns is one of the youngest and most appreciated champions in his division. He spent his childhood and teenage years training in Brazil and earned his black belt in 2007.

After winning a silver medal in 2009, he rose to fame, and his career entered a golden period in 2010, with performances in the semi-finals of the European Open and when, in the World Pro Cups, he defeated Celso Venicius, the fan favorite.  The total of wins is 35.



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