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Manuel “Manny” Diaz – A Pro BJJ World Champion

Manuel “Manny” Diaz – A Pro BJJ World Champion

1. Manny Diaz’s Details

Manny Diaz’s Details
Full Name Manuel Diaz
Pro MMA Record 4-13-0 (Win-Loss-Draw)
Nickname Beats / Manny
Date of Birth 10-12-1982
Age 39
Height NA
Weight NA
Born Watsonville, CA, USA
Nationality American
Last Fight NA
Weight Division Light Heavyweight/ Welterweight
Career Disclosed Earning NA
Fought out of NA
Foundation Style BJJ
Lineage Mitsuyo Maeda –  Carlos Gracie –
Reylson Gracie – Paulo Mauricio Strauch
– Caio Terra – Manuel Diaz
Team Association Soul Fighters
Favorite Position/Technique Knee Slide Guard Pass
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2. Manny Diaz’s Biography

Manuel Diaz is a proficient Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) black belt who has been trained under Caio Terra. He is commonly known by the name “Manny” in the BJJ world. Manuel also trained with Sandro "Batata" Santiago and is widely regarded as one of the best American grapplers of his generation.

Manny Diaz first drew the attention of the sports mainstream media following a spectacular performance in 2013 at the Copa Podio Middleweight  Grand Prix. Despite being only a brown belt, he defeated seasoned athletes during this tournament and earned worldwide recognition.

2.1. Manny Diaz’s Early Life

Manuel Diaz was born in Watsonville, California, in the United States of America on December 10, 1982.

Growing up as a kid, Manny Diaz participated in a variety of sport's. One particular sport that captured his interest was golf, which he started playing when he was 20 years old.  Manny was a long-time golfer who made a living on the course, both as a player and as a coach.

2.2. Manny Diaz’s Pro BJJ Career

Manny Diaz decided to try a Jiu-Jitsu lesson in November 2009 at the age of 26 after being persuaded by his friends. He had no expectations for  BJJ, but from the first day spent  at Coach Sandro “Batata” Santiago’s academy, he came to enjoy the sport and grew to love it.

Promotion to Purple Belt

After only a month of training, Manny jumped right into the tournament scene and entered his first competition.  With only two years of training, Manny received his purple belt in 2012 due to his recurring  success on the mats (Pan American white belt champion and blue belt runner-up).

Trying a hand at Running the Jiu Jitsu Academy

Manuel Diaz was living in a small area where Jiu-Jitsu  wasn't available at the time. As soon as he was promoted to purple belt, Manny decided to open his own academy due to the lack of BJJ in his area.

But Diaz's first attempt at running a Jiu-Jitsu  business proved impractical as the pressures of juggling a full-time job, a family, and continuing to practice BJJ  competitively eventually caught up with him, causing Diaz  to close his academy after a year.

Joining Caio Terra Association (CTA)

As a purple belt, Manny also decided to change training camps. He travelled  to the Caio Terra Association (CTA) to train with Caio Terra, a multiple BJJ world champion.

Elevation to Brown Belt

Shortly after training at the CTA, Manny obtained his brown belt from Caio Terra in 2013.

Earning Black Belt from Terra

Manny Diaz earned his black belt on June 16, 2014, from Caio Terra during Terra’s instructional videos about belt ranks.

He was a brown belt competitor at the Institute of Martial Arts at the  time. Terra awarded Manny his black belt in a very unique manner.

While demonstrating belt ranks to the students, Terra took a black belt from Samir (his student) saying,  “You don’t even have your belt on,” and gave the  black belt to Manny Diaz.

Caio expressed his joy about Manny’s promotion in the following manner during an interview:

“In the three years we have been open, Manny is the first black belt to be promoted at the Institute of Martial Arts in San Jose. It’s a great honor  to call him my student and an even greater honour to call him my friend.”

2.3. Quitting CTA and Forming Legion JJ

Soon after his promotion to black belt, Manny Diaz left CTA and formed his own team called “Legion JJ” with his old friends Kit Dale and Tanner Rice. However, the squad was short-lived,  dissolving  in 2015 when  Diaz decided to leave the team.

2.4. Joining Soul Fighters

In January 2015, Manuel Diaz joined the Soul Fighters Academy after his plan for Legion JJ fell through. He started training and practicing BJJ with many friends and acquaintances at Soul Fighters from thereon.

2.5. Manny Diaz’s Historic Fights

Manuel Diaz Vs Luiz Panza


Manny Diaz faced Luiz Panza (a pro-BJJ fighter) at the BJJ Los Angeles Pro tournament and lost the match to a  straight ankle lock. Although Manny did  not win the match, his performance in the tournament was impressive.

Luiz was in charge from the opening of the match. He was able to grab Manny and perform a jump guard as soon as the match began. Manny fought back and tried to escape Panza’s guard, but failed to do so.

Halfway through the match, Panza grabbed onto  Manny’s lapel, gaining control. When Manny tried to stand up and pass the guard, Panza went for the foot lock and finished the match with a straight ankle lock.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Weight Class
2016 IBJJF Los Angeles BJJ Pro Championship Luiz Panza L Straight Ankle Lock Ultra-Heavyweight

Manuel Diaz Vs Jose Portillo


Manny Diaz achieved a historic victory in  his career against Jose Portillo at the San Antonio Fall International Open IBJJF Championship. The match was held on December 8, 2016.

Diaz took a dominant position from the start and remained on top of Portillo for almost the entire match, making it difficult for Portillo to escape his guard. Portillo tried to fight back, but Diaz did not let him take over and skilfully won the match in the final round.      

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Weight Class
2016 IBJJF San Antonio Fall Open Jose Portillo W Other Medium Heavyweight

Manuel Diaz Vs Paulo Miyao


In September 2013, Manny Diaz competed against Paulo Miyao at the Copa Podio Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament and lost the match just by a few points.

Manny went in  strong at  the start and made sure to give  Paulo a hard time. But Paulo pulled off a reversal  in the middle of the round and finished the fight with his classic berimbolo technique.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Weight Class
2013 Copa Podio Middleweight GP Paulo Miyao L Points Middleweight

2.6. Manny Diaz’s Championships and Accomplishments

  • World Championship
  • Pan American Championship
  • IBJJF LA BJJ Pro Championship
  • Dallas International Open Championship
  • Las Vegas Summer/Spring International Open Championship
  • Boca Raton International Open Championship
  • Chicago Spring International Open Championship

3. Manny Diaz’s Main Achievements

Position Event Year
3rd Place Las Vegas Summer International Open Championship 2014
Champion Las Vegas Summer International Open Championship 2015
Champion Boca Racon International Open Championship 2015
Champion Chicago Spring International Open Championship 2015
3rd Place Dallas International Open Championship 2015
Runner-Up Boston Spring International Open Championship 2015
Runner-Up IBJJF LA BJJ Pro Championship 2016

4. Manny Diaz’s Main Achievements (Belts)

4.1. Black Belt

Position Event Belt Year
1st San Francisco International Open Championship Black 2014
1st Chicago Spring International Open (No-Gi) Championship Black 2015

4.5. Colored Belts

Position Event Belt Year
Runner-Up Pan American Championship Purple 2011
Runner-Up Pan American Championship Purple 2012
Champion World Championship Purple 2012
Champion Las Vegas International Open Championship Purple 2012
Champion San Francisco International Open Championship Purple 2012
Champion San Francisco International Open Championship Brown 2013
Champion Las Vegas Spring International Open Championship Brown 2013
3rd Place Pan American Championship Brown 2013
Champion Pan American Championship Brown 2014
Champion San Francisco International Open Championship Black 2014

5. Manny Diaz’s Professional Record Breakdown

Professional Record Breakdown
17 Matches 04 Wins 13 Losses
By Submission 1 2
By Advantage 1 1
By Points 1 9
Others 1 1

   

5.1. Submission Methods W/L

Submission Methods 1 Win 2 Losses
Choke 1 0
Straight Ankle Lock 0 1
Toe Hold 0 1

6. Manny Diaz’s Fight History

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Weight Class
2016 IBJJF San Antonio Fall Open Jose Portillo W Other Medium Heavyweight
2016 IBJJF Los Angeles Pro Championship Joao Rocha W Advantage Ultra-Heavyweight
2016 IBJJF Los Angeles Pro Championship Luiz Panza L Straight Ankle Lock Ultra-Heavyweight
2016 Fight 2 Win Pro 8 Mark Anthony Gonzales W Choke 195lbs
2016 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Fellipe Pena L Points Absolute Division
2016 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Rodrigo Fajardo W Points Medium Heavyweight
2016 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Matheus Diniz L Points Medium Heavyweight
2016 Pan Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Gabriel Arges L Points Medium Heavyweight
2015 IBJJF Dallas Open Arnaldo Maidana L Points Absolute Division
2015 IBJJF Dallas Open Marcos Tinoco L Points Medium Heavyweight
2015 IBJJF Santa Cruz Pro Lucas Rocha L Points Heavyweight
2015 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Tim Spriggs L Advantage Absolute Division
2015 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Cassio Francis L Toehold Heavyweight
2015 IBJJF Santa Cruz Open Lucas Rocha L Points Heavyweight
2015 IBJJF Boston Spring Open Roberto Torralbas L Other Heavyweight
2015 BJJ Tour American Cup Yuri Simoes L Points Absolute Division
2013 Copa Podio Middleweight GP Paulo Miyao L Points Middleweight

7. Top Fight Links

Luiz Panza vs Manuel Diaz LA BJJ PRO 2016

Manuel Diaz x Jose Portillo Jr San Antonio Fall International Open IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2016

Paulo Miyao VS Manny Diaz Brown Belt Open Final

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