Best BJJ Athletes You Need to Know

Best BJJ Athletes You Need to Know

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has a broader spectrum and different practitioners are best at different aspects of it. Therefore, claiming any single best in the sport will not be realistic at all. Here is a list of all prominent BJJ athletes who are best in different aspects of BJJ.

From active best fighters to exciting, best back takers and exceptional in UFC fights, you will learn all to idealize respective athletes who have the same fighting style.

1. Who is the Best Active BJJ Practitioner?

As mentioned above, we cannot claim any single BJJ fighter to be the only best due to varying fighting styles, techniques, and statistics. Here we are listing the best BJJ practitioners who are actively participating in IBJJF, ADCC, and MMA competitions considering their exclusive techniques and fighting styles.

1.1. Fellipe Andrew Leandro Silva

Fellipe Andrew Leandro Silva (Fellipe Andrew) is one of the best BJJ practitioners who is outstanding with submission success ratio with straight ankle locks or botinha and triangle technique. In his 79 submission wins, 48 are won with the help of these submission techniques. Along with this exclusivity, he has an outstanding BJJ career as he has a record of 124-24. The following achievements and titles depict why he is among the top BJJ practitioners of this era.

  • 1st Place in IBJJF Pan Championship In 2019/ 2020/ 2021
  • 1st Place in CBJJ Brazilian Nationals In 2018
  • 1st Place in IBJJF European Open In 2019/2020
  • 1st Place in IBJJF American Nationals In 2019
  • 1st Place in ACB World Championship In 2018
  • 1st Place in ACB South American Championship In 2018
  • 1st Place in Copa Podio HW Grand Prix In 2018
  • 1st Place in UAEJJF Grand Slam, MIA In 2020

1.2. Ronaldo Pereira de Souza Júnior

Ronaldo Pereira de Souza Júnior is another top name in the current Brazilian jiu-jitsu era. He is unique with his grappling style that is focused on chokes from the back and armbars. Out of his 29 successful submissions, 20 were placed by using these techniques.

He started training BJJ in 2007 and continued his success streak and gained his black belt in 2019 from his coach Andre Galvao after winning the IBJJF World Title two times. Here are a few of his prominent achievements in BJJ.

  • 1st Place in IBJJF Pan Championship In 2020
  • 1st Place in IBJJF Pan Championship No-Gi In 2020
  • 1st Place in IBJJF American Nationals In 2020
  • 1st Place in UAEJJF Grand Slam, MIA In 2020
  • 3rd Place in IBJJF Pan Championship In 2021
  • 3rd Place in IBJJF European Open In 2020

1.3. Beatriz Mesquita

Beatriz Mesquita is the leading female Gi BJJ practitioner nowadays. She is one of the toughest competitors in today’s Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Till now, she has won 23 titles at the black belt level in 4 Gi BJJ competitions. She is 9 times BJJ world champion, 4 times European Championship winner, 7 times Pan-American Championship winner, and 3 times Brazilian Nationals champion. She is also exceptional in no-gi competitions as she holds 5 times the World No-Gi championship as well as  7 times the Brazilian Nationals No-Gi Championship titles.

1.4. Gordon Ryan

Gordon Ryan is another name with exceptional statistics in BJJ competitions. He has a stunning record of 89 wins and just 5 losses with only one submission defeat. Rear naked choke and inside heel hook are his tools to leave the competitors behind in the game as 33 out of 73 wins with submissions, he used these moves. In addition to these stats, 3X ADCC World Championship, 2X IBJJF No-Gi World Championship, and 4X Eddie Bravo Invitational championship titles depict his legacy in the sport.

1.5. Leandro Lo

Leandro Lo is with the record of having the most IBJJF titles in different weight classes that makes him one of the most accomplished BJJ athletes. He also has an outstanding record of 260 wins with only 37 defeats. He is quite a technical player and wins most of the games by scoring points. Here is a glimpse of his World titles and achievements.

  • 7X IBJJF World Champion
  • 6X IBJJF Pans Champion
  • 1X IBJJF European Champion
  • 3X CBJJ Brazilian Nationals Champion
  • 2X CBJJ Brazilian Nationals No-Gi Champion
  • 4X Copa Podio Lightweight GP Champion
  • 2X Copa Podio Middleweight GP Champion
  • 1X Copa Podio Heavyweight GP Champion
  • 4X UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Pro Champion

1.6. Marcus Buchecha

If you want to know about the best in toe holding, armbars, and double leg techniques, Marcus Almeida who is also known as Buchecha or Bochecha cannot be ignored. Among 72 out of his 138 wins, he won with submissions more prominently with armbars and toe holds. He is also known for strong defense as he conceded only 4 submissions in all 14 defeats.

He holds the record of winning most 6 IBJJF World Championship open weight titles.  He is also 2 times ADDC World Champion, 2 times IBJJF World Championship No-Gi winner, and 4 times UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Pro winner. He also won multiple other titles in prominent BJJ Gi competitions.

2. Who Are the Most Exciting BJJ Fighters?

Though BJJ is not considered an exciting sport as it takes plenty of time when it comes to ending a fight. Also, there are no striking or any other exciting elements involved that make people think this sport is boring. However, some fighters are making it exciting in different ways. A few of the most exciting BJJ fighters are as;

2.1. Rubens Charles Corbrinha

Rubens Charles Corbrinha is one of the leading grapplers with an outstanding win record and exceptional escaping skills. With a 118-21 win/loss ratio, he gets submitted only two times. His favorite technique is De La Riva Guard that he uses to off-balance his opponents. He also won 53% of his fights with submissions more prominently chokes from the back and armbars.

2017 was his exceptional year when he won all of the major IBJJF tournaments including the ADCC championship two times in a row. In his 30s when people started thinking about his retirement time, he fought hard and became the only black belt who got the Super Grandslam champion title in BJJ history.

2.2. Marcelo Garcia

Among the aggressive and most attractive grapplers, Marcelo Garcia is best in all aspects. With a 63% submission success rate he has beaten some of the prominent names in BJJ history like Andre Galvao, Leo Vieira, and Kron Gracie.

He is known as a pro of X guard and RNCs. He won 5 IBJJF World championships, 4 ADCC titles, 3 Brazilian Nationals, and a Pan championship using these weapons. In his entire BJJ career, he conceded only submissions and lost only 17 fights while winning 86. Having such statistics, he deserved to be counted as one of the most exciting grapplers in BJJ’s history.

2.3. Marcus Buchecha

While talking about the exciting BJJ Gi fighters, you cannot ignore Marcus Buchecha’s legacy in defending takedowns. He also uses takedowns exceptionally for counterattacks to leave the opponents behind in the fight. Using takedown submissions, he won 72 fights out of his 138 wins. These facts and his exceptional defense make him one of the exciting fighters in the BJJ.

2.4. Walter “Cascao” Vital

It is a known fact that BJJ fights are time taking and can last for hours if there are strong competitors. Helio Gracie’s fight with his old student Waldemar Santana lasts for almost 3 hours and 43 minutes. In such a sport it is unbelievable what Walter Cascao has done. He has the record of winning his fight in just 4 seconds in BJJ history.

Walter Cascao has amazing speed and skill level that enable him to take advantage of the opponent in the least amount of time. That is why he is 3 times IBJJF world champion, 2 times Pan American Champion, and holds 67 IBJJF medals.

2.5. Nicholas Meregali

Winning by submitting opponents successfully every time is what makes you the best grappler. In BJJ, if we try to find an athlete with the highest percentage of successful submissions, Nicholas Meregali will be the person. He has a 100% submission rate which means that all times he attempted a submission, he finished it successfully. Out of his 48 wins, he attempted submission in 34 and all were successful. On the other hand, he has not conceded a single submission to date in all his 12 losses.

3. Who's the Best 'Back Taker' in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu?

Having the back of an opponent is the position that every BJJ practitioner tries to have to make them open for chokes. There are multiple people who use this move quite exceptionally to get an advantage over their opponents to attempt successful submissions with the help of chokes. We cannot point to a single person being the best in back taking as everyone has different techniques and skill levels. Here are some incredible fighters who are the best in this technique.

3.1. Marcelo Garcia

While talking about back-taking in BJJ, Marcelo Garcia is a prominent name that cannot be ignored. He is the master of getting on the back of opponents. If you are competing with him, giving him your back even for a moment will be suicide for you. He was an expert in opening opponents for the neck chokes with the help of back taking.

3.2. Miyao Brothers

Miyao Brothers are also great names in back-taking in BJJ. Both Paulo Miyao and João Miyao are outstanding at getting on opponents’ backs and their submission records are evidence of it. Both of them have won most of the games by submitting opponents with chokes from the back. Also, the thing that distinguishes these twins from others is that they had never conceded a submission in their 229 and 240 fights respectively.

3.3. Mendes Brothers

Like the Miyao brothers, the Mendis brothers are also exceptional back takers in BJJ Gi fights. Rafael Mendes and Guilherme Mendes are known for their capabilities to take the back of their opponents with ease. Specifically, Rafael has created multiple variations to this technique. Both have won all of the major BJJ tournaments multiple times and have a good record of winning fights by submitting opponents most of the time.

3.4. Jonathan Torres

In the list of Back taking masters in both BJJ Gi and No-Gi, you can add the name of Jonathan Torres. From his records, you can easily understand that he won most games with a choke from the back technique that depicts how much he loves to get on the back of opponents. That is one of the reasons that he has 86 wins and 28 losses with only 3 submissions. He has also won multiple world championship titles and medals in his career.

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4. Who Are the Most Exciting Quality No-gi BJJ Fighters?

No-Gi is another form of BJJ fighting style in which you do not have to wear the traditional uniform of BJJ fighters, that is Gi. Here are some of the incredible and most exciting BJJ No-Gi fighters that you can idealize while training BJJ if you are aiming to go for No-Gi competitions.

4.1. Gordon Ryan

Like BJJ Gi competitions, Gordon Ryan is also one of the exceptional fighters when it comes to No-Gi competitions. He has 6 No-Gi World titles at 26 that is far more than many of the BJJ practitioners achieve in their entire careers. The thing that makes him the best in the No-Gi format of the sport is his dedication to jiu-jitsu. He is one of the busiest men in BJJ.

4.2. Andre Galvao

While talking about No-Gi BJJ, you cannot ignore 13 times ADCC champion including double gold in 2011, Andre Galvao. He is one of the most winning fighters in No-gi competitions of all time.  He is the reigning ADCC Super fight Champion and holds the record of winning the most 4 super fights in the BJJ no-gi history.

4.3. Royler Gracie

If you want to know about one of the No-Gi kings in the 90s, Roylor Gracie from the famous Gracie family is the one you are looking for. He won 9 No-Gi world championships including 3 ADCC titles in 3 consecutive years. He only lost one time in his entire 15 fights in ADCC No-Gi championships against top no-gi fighters.

4.4. Dean Lister

In making the leg locks popular and inspiring John Danaher for developing a whole leg lock system, the role of Dean Lister is unforgettable. He is one of the few grapplers who have won ADCC titles multiple times. He holds the record of submitting 12 of his opponents in ADCC with the help of leg locks. 

5. Who Is the Best Jiu-Jitsu Fighter in UFC History?

The history of BJJ fighters in UFC started when Royce Gracie decided to make people realize that by using the right BJJ techniques, a smaller fighter can defeat bigger ones. Every UFC or MMA fighter knows about BJJ at different levels.

Multiple exceptional BJJ fighters participated in the UFC and successfully made their name. Though we cannot point towards a single person for being the best in the sport as every fighter holds different styles and fighting techniques, we have listed some best BJJ fighters in UFC’s history.

5.1. Royce Gracie

We cannot ignore the legacy of the person who is solely responsible for the global popularity of the MMA and UFC and showed the world that by using the right technique at the right time, one can defeat even bigger opponents.

He holds the honor of winning 3 out of the initial four UFC championships. He was amazing with submitting opponents during MMA fights as in 11 of his fights he submitted opponents with armbars, triangle chokes, and RNCs.

5.2. Demian Maia

Demian Maia is one of the best BJJ fighters in UFC history. He is known for his single and double leg takedowns and getting opponents back for choke submission. In his 28 wins, 14 came from submissions and 13 out of them were chokes from the back.

5.3. Tony Ferguson

Tony Ferguson is the other prominent name among the grapplers competing in the UFC. If we talk about the BJJ fighter having the longest winning streak in the UFC, Tony Ferguson is the fighter.

In MMA and UFC circles, he is known as one of the most dangerous players. He also holds the record of the most 3 DÁrce Choke finishes. On top of that, he has won 25 out of his 30 UFC fights.

5.4. Ronaldo Souza

Ronaldo Jacare Souza is also one of the top BJJ and MMA fighters who majorly rely on submissions to win fights. Out of his 26 wins, in 14 he submitted opponents with Kimuras, armbars, and chokes. He also has won 8 gold medals in BJJ tournaments and is a 4th-degree black belt.

5.5. Anderson Silva

Anderson Silva is another name in the list of best jiu-jitsu fighters in MMA history. He is 16 times UFC Middleweight Champion with defending his title 10 times consecutively. He remained champion for the longest time in UFC history for 2457 days from 2006 to 2013. The following are the records that make him one of the best BJJ fighters in UFC.

  • Longest winning streak of 16 wins
  • Most11 finishes in Middleweight division history
  • Most 9 finishes in UFC title fights
  • Most 18 knockdowns in UFC history and ten of them were in title fights which is also a record
  • Most 7 knockouts in UFC title fights.

6. Conclusion

These are some best BJJ athletes that you should be aware of to get inspiration and try to be like them to achieve your utmost goals in this sport. All of them are best in their capacity based on their skills, techniques, and achievements in all aspects of BJJ.

Photo credit: eksisozluk ,

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