BJJ

10 MMA Fighters Who Could Win the ADCC Tournament

10 MMA Fighters Who Could Win the ADCC Tournament

There are examples of many grapplers that switched to MMA for having great exposure to other fighting techniques. However, it used to be very uncommon for MMA fighters to compete in grappling tournaments. But today, BJJ has become a trend. Many Hollywood stars and entrepreneurs are practicing BJJ. With a great influx of people in BJJ, MMA fighters also strive for more titles. This article focuses on 10 MMA fighters who could compete and win the ADCC World Championship.

1. The Probability of MMA Fighters Competing in the ADCC

The Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) is a popular submission tournament held every two years. Fighters show off their skill in hopes of getting an invite. Every year, the ADCC sends invitations to the finest fighters who have a high probability of winning the championship. MMA fighters participating at the ADCC is not impossible. The ADCC has been inviting skilled and accomplished MMA fighters for a long time, like George St. Pierre. One thing about ADCC is that they do not select fighters based on rank and fighting style. The ADCC chooses competitors based on their merit and skills.

1.1. ADCC’s UFC Fight Pass Broadcasting Contract

Previously, ADCC’s broadcasting contract was with FloSports. In January 2023, ADCC announced a multi-year deal with UFC Fight Pass, which means that now there is a better chance that more UFC fighters will receive ADCC invites. However, in April 2023, the ADCC declared that there is a chance of returning to FloSports, though there has been no announcement made of a new contract.

2. Charles Oliviera

Charles Oliviera
Photo Credits: @UFC

Charles Oliviera is a 3rd-degree BJJ black belt under Jorge Patino. He is the former UFC Lightweight Champion and is currently focused on regaining his UFC belt. Oliviera was an active grappler during his days climbing up the belt ranks. But after switching to MMA, his grappling skills have become more refined. Oliviera is the only UFC fighter with the most submission wins in UFC history. Oliviera has excellent delivery of techniques when he is in the cage.

While he is known for his striking game capable of knocking out most opponents within seconds, Oliviera’s fighting style revolves around grappling. Whenever his opponents try to pin him, Olivieira restricts their movements using grappling techniques that make it easier to apply a submission.

2.1. Charles Oliviera Vs. Darren Elkins


Oliveira fought against Darren Elkins at the UFC Live: Jones Vs. Matyushenko. Oliveira had been undefeated until the end of 2010. On August 1st, 2010, Oliveira defeated Elkins via an armbar in the first 41 seconds of the first round. Elkins went for a takedown but Oliviera quickly scrambled to guard and locked the triangle choke on Elkins. This gave Oliviera the opportunity to go for the armbar and he eventually succeeded.

3. Khamzat Chimaev

Khamzat Chimaev
Photo Credits: @UFC

Khamzat Chimaev, the UFC’s number four champion in the welterweight division, is a BJJ purple belt. The Swedish MMA fighter competes in the UFC welterweight and middleweight divisions. While known for his striking game, Chimaev is also skilled in grappling. He uses his wrestling and judo skills to take down opponents before applying ground grappling techniques on the ground. An undefeated MMA champion, known for his excellent rampage skills, Chimaev’s takedown defense lets him escape and get around towards the back. One of Chimaev’s favorite strategies is letting his opponents initiate a leg takedown, then turning the tables in his favor by constricting his opponents from the guard position.

3.1. Khamzat Chimaev Vs. Gilbert Burns

Chimaev defeated Gilbert Burns at UFC 273 via unanimous decision. Chimaev’s grappling skills were on full display when he countered Burns strikes and punches. Chimaev used strikes to bring Burns down, controlled his movements via the closed guard and hammered him with jabs.

4. Roberto Satoshi

Roberto Satoshi
Photo Credits: @robertosatoshi

Roberto Satoshi de Souza is a Japanese MMA fighter and a BJJ black belt under Adilson de Souza who competes in Rizin Fighting Federation. Satoshi has won many IBJJF and UAEJJF championships. He has won using his slick submission and grappling skills. For takedowns, Satoshi quickly gathers his initial position and scrambles till he gets his opponent. Satoshi gets into a sweep position to protect himself when being struck while on the ground. He is a master at flipping his opponents over onto their backs. Satoshi uses the unorthodox form of the open guard to tangle and catch his opponents off-guard.

4.1. Roberto Satoshi Vs. Baek Seung Dae


Satoshi’s fight against Baek Seung Dae became his greatest grappling fight. He not only submitted Dae via a rear naked choke, but also showed impressive skills before the submission. Satoshi initiated a double-leg takedown and brought Dae to the ground. Satoshi quickly gained back control and landed punches on the side of Dae’s head. From the same position, Satoshi submitted Dae in the first round at Arzalet Fighting 4.

5. Sean O’Malley

Sean O’Malley
Photo Credits: @UFC

Sean O’Malley is a BJJ brown belt under Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes and an American MMA fighter who competes in the UFC bantamweight division. He is ranked number two in the UFC bantamweight rankings. O’Malley’s hooks are the backbone for his excellent grappling style. O’Malley is highly skilled at striking, able to knock down most opponents with a single punch and claims the title. ADCC will surely like to invite such a champion that creates history.

5.1. Sean O’Malley Vs. Robert Degle


Recently, O’Malley competed at a Grappling Industries tournament. Though O’Malley lost the fight against Robert Degle via a tight heel hook, he demonstrated his improvement in skill. O’Malley’s addition to the ADCC might be the biggest fight in the history of ADCC, maybe even greater than Andre Galvao Vs. Gordon Ryan at the 2022 ADCC World Championship.

6. Tony Ferguson

Tony Ferguson
Photo Credits: @UFC

Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson is an American 10th Planet black belt under Eddie Bravo and an MMA fighter. He was the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion. His fighting style is a combination of grappling, striking and wrestling. Ferguson relies on his footwork to escape from opponents and catches them off-balance with rapidly executed techniques. His strong ground game is the reason of his finished fights that allows him to swiftly transition grapples and submissions on the ground.

6.1. Tony Ferguson Vs. Kevin Lee


At UFC 26, Ferguson was scheduled to fight against another MMA fighter named Kevin Lee. Ferguson used strikes at the start to tire out Lee. When Lee initiated a double-leg takedown and took down Ferguson, Ferguson restricted Lee’s body using strong hooks and landed punches on his face. From this position, Ferguson attempted a triangle choke but Lee escaped. Ferguson’s leg locks prevented Lee from landing jabs. Eventually, Lee was submitted via triangle choke in the second round.

7. Beneil Dariush

Beneil Dariush
Photo Credits: @UFC

Beneil Dariush is a BJJ black belt under Romulo Barral and an American MMA fighter. He is number four in the UFC lightweight division rankings. Since 2009, Dariush has been competing in MMA, having been an active grappler and even before the start of his MMA career. He is also a black belt in Muay Thai. Dariush’s fighting style does not consist of just grappling, rather it is a combination of grappling and striking.


At UFC 289, Dariush competed against Oliveira and lost the fight via TKO punches. Over the years, Dariush has developed a strong striking game but still makes sure to practice grappling. Even in UFC fights, Dariush shows off incredible grappling techniques. If he ever gets the ADCC invite, whether he loses or wins, he will put on quite a show for his fans and haters

7.1. Beneil Dariush Vs. Drew Dober


At UFC Fight Night: Lewis vs. dos Santos, Dariush submitted Drew Dober via a triangle armbar. Though the fight featured a very short struggle on the ground, Dariush’s superior ground grappling skills is what helped him submit Dober.

8. Miesha Tate

Miesha Tate
Photo Credits: @UFC

Ranked number 11 in the UFC women’s welterweight division, the one and only Miesha Tate is a BJJ purple belt. She was the UFC Bantamweight Champion before Amanda Nunes. Known for her excellent finished fights, Tate is skilled in grappling techniques. Her ability to fight on the ground is the most stand-out feature of her combat style. Being the backbone of her fighting style, her grappling skills in the cage have earned her the nickname, “Queen of Ground and Pound.”

8.1. Miesha Tate Vs. Holly Holm

At UFC 196, Tate submitted Holly Holm via a rear naked choke in the fifth round and became the UFC Women Bantamweight Champion. In the second round, Tate took down and got on top of Holm. Maintaining the dominant position, Tate kept Holm from escaping. Holm desperately tried to get up but Tate’s adamant nature kept adding pressure. In the fifth round, Tate climbed on Holm’s back and submitted her. Addition of such a fighter in ADCC wouldn’t be less than a spectacular match.

9. Raquel Pennington

Raquel Pennington
Photo Credits: @UFC

Raquel Pennington is a BJJ purple belt and an American MMA fighter. She was one of the best fighters in the Invicta Fighting Championship. She competes in the UFC featherweight division. Since January 2023, Pennington has been ranked number two in the UFC bantamweight division. Pennington’s fighting style includes  dominating opponents via grappling. By getting on top of her opponent, Pennington restricts her opponents and keeps them from hitting her.

9.1. Raquel Pennington Vs. Sarah Moraes


On July 28, 2013 at Invicta FC: Baszler vs. McMann, Pennington competed against Sarah Moraes. During the fight, Moraes initiated a takedown, but Pennington managed to pull off a reversal and get in the dominant position. Moraes tried using elbow strikes to catch Pennington off-guard, but Pennington’s stronghold was unbreakable. Pennington’s grappling skills prevented Moraes from retaliating with strikes. Pennington won the fight by unanimous decision.

10. Luke Rockhold

Luke Rockhold
Photo Credits: @UFC

Though Luke Rockhold is a retired American MMA fighter, he is a BJJ black belt under Leonardo Vieira. Rockhold was once the king of UFC’s light heavyweight and middleweight division. Though Rockhold has retired from the competitive circuit since 2022, there might be a chance he will return. ADCC has always paid attention to the champions as well as the rising stars. Rockhold in UFC, if ever happened, mustn't be a shock for his fans because they know what Rockhold is capable of. Rockhold is famous for luring his opponents to the ground for a takedown and himself gaining control. If it seems Rockhold is about to be trapped, he swiftly stands up to protect himself.

10.1. Luke Rockhold Vs. Jesse Taylor

Rockhold competed against Jesse Taylor at Strikeforce Challengers: Kaufman vs. Hashi. The fight started with both standing, but Rockhold transitioned it to the ground to take full advantage of his grappling moves. When Taylor went for the takedown, Rockhold restricted Taylor’s moves from a closed guard and later submitted him via a rear naked choke in the first round.

11. Arnold Allen

Arnold Allen
Photo Credits: @UFC

Arnold Allen is a BJJ brown belt and an English MMA fighter ranked at number four in the UFC featherweight division. Allen has an MMA record of 19-2-0. Trained under Faras Zahabi, Allen is an excellent fighter with four submission wins in his MMA career. Though Allen is more famous for his strikes, his grappling is a sight to behold. We all are aware of the fact that ADCC invites not only grapplers but famous MMA fighters too, Georges St. Pierre is one example. And Allen definitely holds the guts to compete in the ADCC World Championship.

11.1. Arnold Allen Vs. Alan Omer

At UFC Fight Night: Jedrzejczyk vs. Penne, Allen defeated Alan Omer via a guillotine choke in the third round. From the closed guard position, Omer landed a few good punches on Allen. Omer took Allen down to the ground, but Allen quickly got out of the dangerous position and got on top of his opponent. Allen’s ground game helped him submit his opponent.

12. FAQs

12.1. Is There a Chance of Islam Makhachev Competing in the ADCC?

It is true that Islam Makhachev has no BJJ record, but the UFC Lightweight Champion is skilled in submission techniques and has competed in Sambo.

12.2. Can AJ McKee Compete in the ADCC World Championship?

AJ McKee has no public grappling record. But he has won many “Submission of the Night" awards in the UFC. He even defeated Roberto Satoshi in the cage, so there might be a spot for McKee at the ADCC World Championship.

13. Conclusion

The ADCC is one of the most famous no-gi grappling tournaments in the world. It is an invitational tournament that only selects a few aspiring practitioners from around the world to compete. Recently, MMA fighters have been asked to compete in the ADCC because of their skills. Most fighters that compete in the ADCC are grapplers, but that does not mean MMA fighters cannot earn spots. Miesha Tate, Charles Oliveira, and Khamzat Chimaev are only a few examples of MMA fighters who could be invited to and win the upcoming ADCC. ADCC has always been adamant about promoting grappling all over the world. It conducts ADCC trials, which is another platform where fighters can prove their worth.


Photo Credits: @wikipedia

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