Gabriel Gonzaga - UFC Heavyweight Champion

Gabriel Gonzaga - UFC Heavyweight Champion

1. Gabriel Gonzaga Details

Given Name  Gabriel Gonzaga Santos Nogueira
Nickname   Napao
Born Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Current Residence  Los Angeles, California
Date of Birth May 18, 1979,
Nationality  Brazilian
Last Fight June 22, 2022, in Reality, Fight
Weight Class  Pesadissimo
Weight 100.50KG / 222 lbs
Height 6’2” (188cm)
Reach  76” (193 cm)
Career Disclosed Earnings N/A
Fighting out of Ludlow, Massachusetts
Foundational style  Brazilian Jiu-Jisu
FavoriteTechnique  Pressure Passing
Pro MMA Record 17-12-0 (W-L-D)
Rank   5th Degree Black Belt
Awarded By   Wander Braga
Head Coach  Wander Braga
Lineage Carlos Gracie -> Helio Gracie -> Rickson Gracie -> Jorge Pereira -> Wander Braga -> Gabriel Gonzaga
Association Squared Brazilian Jiu Jitsu

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2. Biography of Gabriel Gonzaga

2.1. Who is Gabreial Gonzaga?

Gabriel Gonzaga is a fifth-degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt grappler, professional boxer, and MMA fighter. On 18 May 1979, Gabriel was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Gonzaga has competed at the professional level in jiu-jitsu and earned several titles in the BJJ discipline. Many of his friends called him Napao, which means ‘big nose’ in Portuguese. Gonzaga is a world's famous jiu-jitsu champion with a rock-solid 13-6 MMA record at age of 33. He is also an elite heavyweight competitor in the UFC.

His coach decided to relocate to the USA in 2000, and Gonzaga moved back to Sao Paulo in 2002 where he joined the academy of Jorge Patino known as the Macao Gold Team. Gonzaga progressed in jiu-jitsu and became the prominent black belt of the region and continued conquering competitions on national and international levels. In 2003, Gabriel was inclined toward MMA and it was the start of his transition from BJJ to MMA. But still, Gabriel prefers grappling in his career and gives priority to jiu-jitsu as his main career meanwhile the first debut of his MMA was held in 2003.

Gabriel Gonzaga also teaches jiu-jitsu at his home.

2.2. Early life of Gabriel Gonzaga

Brazilian native Gabriel Gonzaga started taking interest in martial arts at age of 14. He was attracted to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and decided to train under the coaching of Wander Braga. Gonzaga continued to earn reverence by winning jiu-jitsu competitions. Gonzaga made his professional MMA debut on 4 April 2003 in Santos, Brazil and fought with Cicero Costa. Gonzaga won the fight via first round punches KO.

Gonzaga has been in this profession of fighting for more than 20 years. He entered the promotion with a vaunted jiu-jitsu pedigree, a 2004 Mundalsi winner, and an Abu Dhabi Grappling veteran. Coach Alvan trained him in his early career and Gabriel said he remember his coach’s words:

“Gabriel has a lot of talent," boasted a beaming Alvan. "Gabriel, for me, is pound-for-pound the best fighter in the world.”

The two became friends while growing up and competing in jiu-jitsu in Brazil. The two started Team Link with the goal of turning out top-notch fighters and competitors.

2.3. Gabriel Gonzaga Occupation Highlight

Gabriel Gonzaga began his profession in 2003 as a Brazilian Gladiator. Within two years Gonzaga subsequently surfaced on UFC boards in 2005. Gabriel continued his career in grappling, later on when MMA bouts got serious, he started to prioritize UFC. He retired from MMA, however, he remains busy in boxing. He had 28 battles in MMA with 17 wins and 12 losses. After his UFC winning streak, he turned into the next weight division which is ultra-heavyweight.

2.4. Forgotten UFC Heavyweight

Gabriel Gonzaga set his name in UFC on August 25, 2007, in Las Vegas was the night that was poised for his victory. A young Brazilian fighter was making headlines in UFC 74 and fighting Randy Couture for his heavyweight title. Fresh off his career with the highlight reel head rock kick KO of Mirko. Gonzaga was surging and fancied by many senior mates.

Fast forward to the present and the UFC Heavyweight division looks very different. It is now one of the more competitive UFC divisions. Gonzaga bounced back by defeating Tuchscherer.

2.5. “Bigfoot” Gabriel responds to Critics

Antonio Silva is famous for the name “Bigfoot” mentioned by Gonzaga in his comment to MMA Fighting.

“Criticism will always come. There are people who don't even understand or like the sport but still criticize it, but I don't even read it. I don't know about Gabriel, but I am on fire. I have been resting for two years, preparing for my comeback, and this is my time to return. I practiced doing more cardio and jiu-jitsu to regain my confidence after the knee injury. Gonzaga isn’t worried either. In fact, he defends bare-knuckle boxing as being safer than more popular sports like football, soccer, and racing.”

In his response, Gonzaga said:

“If you stop and think about it, I don’t know if you ever played soccer, but when someone crosses the ball and you hit it with the head, that’s harder than one of these punches.”

3. Gabriel Gonzaga Career

3.1. Professional BJJ Career

Gabriel Gonzaga started his professional career in 2003 battling for the Brazilian Gladiators. He had his early training in jiu-jitsu and boxing in Brazil, Gabriel then debuted his UFC fight on November 19, 2005, in Santos, Brazil. Although his wife miscarried one of their twins, he could not practice properly due to the high risk to his wife's health, weeks before the match. Still, he didn't lose his focus, not only Gabriel won the match against Kevin Jordan with an amazing hero punch at 4:39 of the third round but also won the attention of millions of fans.

3.2. Professional MMA career

Gonzaga made his professional MMA debut on 4 April 2003 in Brazil against Costa, securing a first round win via submission.

3.3. Professional UFC

He made his UFC debut at UFC 56, knocking out Kevin Jordan with a supreme punch at 4:39 of the third round. However, Weeks before the fight, Gonzaga’s obligation to his wife during her pregnancy left him unable to train properly. In his UFC duration, Gonzaga finished several battles, with minimum time and rounds. At UFC 102 Gonzaga defeated Chris Tuchscherer via TKO in the first round.

His career in the UFC was going amazing and was about to get promoted but because of his defeat against Brendan Schaub, caused his release from the promotion in 2010.

3.4. Post UFC

After getting released from UFC, Gonzaga stated that he will focus on his BJJ fights but showed interest in returning to MMA. Gonzaga then fought in reality fighting against Parker Porter. He won the Reality Fighting Heavyweight Championship via an arm triangle choke.

3.5. Return to the UFC

On December 16, 2011, Gonzaga secured a new UFC contract of 4 fights. In UFC 142, he fought Ednaldo Oliveira at and submitted him via RNC.

4. Gabriel Gonzaga BJJ Accomplishment and Championships

4.1. Main Achievements

Year Events Position
2019  IBJJF Masters World Championship 1st Position
2006 IBJJF World Championship 1st Position
2006  CBJJO World Cup 1st Position
2005 CBJJO World Cup 2nd position
2005  CBJJO World Cup 3rd position
2005 ADCC Brazilian Trials 1st Position
2005  ADCC World Championship 2nd position
2004 Black Belt Grand Prix 1st Position
2003  CBJJO World Cup 2nd position
2002 IBJJF World Championship 3rd Position
2000  IBJJF World Championship 3rd Position
1999 CBJJ Brazilian Nationals 3rd position

4.2. Main Achievements Belts Records

Year Events Position Belt
2019  Masters World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 1st Position Black
2006 World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 1st Position Black
2002  World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 3rd position Black
1999 IBJJF World Championship 3rd position Brown
1999  Brazilian national Jiu Jitsu Championship 3rd position Black
1997 CBJJ Brazilian Nationals 1st Position Purple
1996  CBJJ Brazilian Nationals 1st Position Purple

4.3. Main Achievement Medal Record

Year Events Position Belt Weight Medal
2019  Masters World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 1st Position Black Ultra-Heavy Gold
2006  World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 1st Position Black Ultra-Heavy Gold
2002  World Jiu-Jitsu Championship 3rd position Black Absolute Bronze
1999  IBJJF World Championship 3rd position Brown N/A Bronze
1999  Brazilian national Jiu-jitsu Championship 3rd position Black Super-Heavy Bronze
1997  CBJJ Brazilian Nationals 1st Position Purple N/A Gold
1996  CBJJ Brazilian Nationals 1st Position Purple N/A Gold
2005  ADCC World Championship 2nd Position N/A 99KG Silver

5. Gabriel Gonzaga Professional Career

5.1. Professional Boxing Career

On 14 September 2017, Gonzaga stepped in pro boxing, representing Rivera Promotions Entertainment boxing on 26 October and faced Alejandro Esquilin Santiago. Gonzaga secured a win via decision after a tough four round fight.

Year Opponent W/L/D Method Round Location
2017 Alejandro Esquilin Santiago Win MD 4 Massachusetts, US.

5.2. Bare Knuckle Boxing

On August 28, 2019, it was announced that Gonzaga would make his professional debut headlining his bare-knuckle match on October 19, 2019. He won the fight against Antonio Silva ( aka BigFoot) via second round knockout.

Year Opponent W/L/D Method Round Location
2019 Antônio Silva Win KO 2 United State

6. Historic Fights

6.1. Gabriel Gonzaga vs. Matt Mitrione

In 2014, it was announced that Gonzaga would face the Ultimate Fighting Champion Matt Mitrione. Gonzaga was defeated in the First-round via TKO punches. 

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Round Location
2014 UFC on Fox Matt Mitrione Loss TKO (punches) 1 United State

6.2. Next for Gonzaga

Gonzaga is 35 years old, and he has been fighting professionally since 2003. He has been knocked out nine times of his twelve losses. It's time for him to take a turn in his professional fighting career.

7. Gabriel Gonzaga professional Record Breakdown

7.1. BJJ Fight Record breakdown

Year Opponent W/L Event Method
2022  Dana Haigh W Reality Fight Americana
2022 Tyler King W Reality Fight Armbar
2020  Hunter Colvin W Underground 20 Armbar
2020 Leo Leite W BJJ Star Advantage
2019  Gordan Ryan L Underground 10 Heel Hook
2019 Fabiano Scherner W Underground 9 Armbar
2006  Leo leite W IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship Armbar
2005 Jeff Monson L ADCC Championships Submission

7.2. MMA Record Break Down(17-12-0)

Total 29 Win 17 Losses 12
By Knockout  9 10
By submission 7 0
By decision  1 2

8. Gabriel Gonzaga Fight History

Year Opponent W/L/D Method Event Round Location
2018 Alexander Emelianenko L TKO (punches and knees) RCC 2 Russia
2016 Derrick Lewis L KO (punches) UFC Fight Night 1 Croatia
2015 Konstantin Erokhin W Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter 3 United States
2015 Mirko Cro Cop L TKO (elbows and punches) UFC Fight Night 3 Poland
2014 Matt Mitrione L TKO (punches) UFC on Fox 1 United States
2014 Stipe Miocic L Decision (unanimous) UFC on Fox 3 United States
2013 Shawn Jordan W KO (punches) UFC 166 1 United States
2013 Dave Herman W KO (punches) UFC 162 1 United States
2013 Travis Browne L KO (elbows) The Ultimate Fighter 1 United States
2013 Ben Rothwell W Submission (guillotine choke) UFC on Fox 2 Brazil
2012 Ednaldo Oliveira W Submission (rear-naked choke) UFC 142 1 Brazil
2011 Parker Porter W Submission (arm-triangle choke) Reality Fighting 3 United States
2010 Brendan Schaub L Decision (unanimous) UFC 121 3 United States
2010 Junior dos Santos L TKO (punches) UFC Live 1 United States
2009 Chris Tuchscherer W TKO (punches) UFC 102 1 United States
2009 Shane Carwin L KO (punch) UFC 96 1 United States
2008 Josh Hendricks W KO (punches) UFC 91 1 United States
2008 Justin McCully W Submission (americana) UFC 86 1 United States
2008 Fabrício Werdum L TKO (punches) UFC 80 2 England
2007 Randy Couture L TKO (punches) UFC 74 3 United States
2007 Mirko Cro Cop W KO (head kick) UFC 70 1 England
2006 Carmelo Marrero W Submission (armbar) UFC 66 1 United States
2006 Fabiano Scherner W TKO (punches) UFC 60 2 United States
2005 Kevin Jordan W KO (superman punch) UFC 56 3 United States
2004 Walter Farias W Submission (neck crank) Shooto Brazil: Never Shake 2 Brazil
2004 Charlie Brown W TKO (retirement) Jungle Fight 2 3 Brazil
2003 Fabrício Werdum L TKO (punches) Jungle Fight 1 3 Brazil
2003 Branden Lee Hinkle W Submission (triangle choke) Meca 9 1 Brazil
2003 Cicero Costa W TKO (submission to punches) Brazilian Gladiators 2 1 Brazil

9. Gabriel Gonzaga’s Staph Infection and Hand Surgery

Gabriel Gonzaga Staph Infection

Former heavyweight number Gabriel “Napao” Gonzaga was forced to withdraw from the UFC 108 card due staph infection where he would face Junior “Cigano” Dos Santos. The Brazilian has been doing light training but has to take antibiotics.

According to the Journal:

“I believe Napao will be ready to fight in March or April. His arm is better and he is going to train in full swing in January. It’s a slight infection, however, it turns out to be difficult because he can’t stay in contact with other people.”

Gabriel Gonzaga fought in UFC 108. However, the fight got canceled because of Gonzaga’s staph infection.

Gabriel’s Hand Surgery

Former UFC heavyweight No 1. Gabriel shared his right hand during his 265-pound collision against Stipe Miocic on Jan 25, 2014. After undergoing surgery to have a plate and a couple of screws put in to repair the hand, Gabriel was set to undergo yet another surgery to have them removed. Once fully healed, Gonzaga eyes a late 2014 return to action, as he told MMA fighting.

“I had a complicated fracture. My bone was completely broken and I had to put a plate with four screws. I didn't lose any movements, but I have to go on surgery again to remove the plate and the screws, or I can suffer another fracture.”

Gonzaga lost another fight via unanimous decision to Stripe, breaking his two-winning streaks, which he earned by knocking out Dave Herman and Shawn Jordan in a combined time of almost 2 minutes.

Gabriela Gonzaga's words;

“That's how the sport is, one loss and you're back to the end of the line. I still don't have any fight in mind (for my return), but I'm sure I will be back with everything with my gym, and Team Link. We opened a new gym in Natick, Mass., so I will have a better structure to have more athletes helping me throughout my camp. We have a good relationship with the Boxer MMA team and we do good work together as well.”

10. Passing Guard By Gabriel Gonzaga DVD Overview

Gabriel Gonzaga launched his BJJ lessons in his four parts in DVD with instructions for passing a difficult guard. Whatever your passing style is, you’ll benefit from the DVS instructions of Passing Difficult Guard. Well, at least those covering guards that work in both, like the half guard and closed guard. The DVD is divided into four volumes that contain more details,

Part 1: Giving lessons about passing opening with closed guard.

Part 2: He adds leg looks of the lasso pass is the perfect way of making everyone think twice about using an ankle lock.

Part 3: From straightforward passing to wrist locking and Omo Plata along the way, to passing to the back, everything is in here.

Part 4: There are more attacks with the ankle locks and rolling takes than complicated multi-stage passes.

11. Gabriel Gonzaga Top Videos Link

Junior Dos Santos vs. Gabriel Gonzaga Highlights

Gabriel gonzaga final IBJJF European master

Gabriel Gonzaga on Derrick Lewis "I'm going to try to knock him out or submit him" UFC Zagreb

Miami winter master Gabriel gonzaga 20202

Photo credit: @gonzagabjj

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