Table of Contents
- 1. The Top BJJ Fighters in the World
- 2. The Top BJJ Fighters in the US
- 3. Braulio Estima
- 4. Ronaldo "Jacaré" Souza
- 5. Fabricio Werdum
- 6. Andre Galvão
- 7. Rafael dos Anjos
- 8. Renan Barao
- 9. Rodrigo “Feijao” Ferreira
- 10. Carlos Gracie Jr.
- 11. Rickson Gracie
- 12. Royler Gracie
- 13. TJ Dillashaw
- 14. Demian Maia
- 15. Fabio Maldonado
- 16. Jacare Souza
- 17. Rodrigo Vaghi
- 18. Last Words
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial art that primarily teaches grappling techniques. It is a popular sport for both men and women that can be practiced at any age and/or weight class. Part of the reason why BJJ has grown in popularity is that many top athletes take part in tournaments hosted by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation or IBJJF.
This article will discuss some of the top BJJ fighters who have participated in IBJJF competitions, learning about their backgrounds and training methods.
1. The Top BJJ Fighters in the World
A top-ranking BJJ fighter in the world is João Barbosa. He is a black belt taught by Ricardo Almeida who has won numerous championships, including the ADCC Championships in 2011 and the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2009. Barbosa remained undefeated during his career in 2014.
Another top-ranked black belt is Roger Gracie. He is a three-time world champion in 1999, 2002, and 2004, a two-time ADCC Champion in 2000 and 2003, and a Brazilian National Champion in 1996. Roger is also the founder of Gracie Barra, the largest BJJ school in the world.
Saulo Ribeiro is the third highest-ranked black belt according to IBJJF rankings. Ribeiro has won multiple international titles, including the European Open Championship in 2007 and the Worlds Championship in 2007 and 2009. He also won ADCC bronze medals in 2006 and 2010.
2. The Top BJJ Fighters in the US
Many people use BJJ as a form of self-defense, in competitions, and to help with fitness and rehabilitation. BJJ has grown in popularity, with several academies established in almost every city in the United States. Major contributors to the BJJ’s increasing popularity are the famous participants in IBJJF tournaments.
3. Braulio Estima
Braulio is a black belt taught by Professor Helio Vitor de Souza, who had also trained Carlson Gracie, one of the fathers of BJJ. Braulio is a six-time world champion and has won dozens of other titles. He teaches at the Alliance Academy in Santa Cruz, California.
4. Ronaldo "Jacaré" Souza
Ronaldo “Jacaré” Souza is currently ranked the number two BJJ fighter by the IBJJF and has earned titles from multiple organizations, including the ADCC, Mundials, and Euros. Souza has competed in many high-level tournaments, including the 2017 IBJJF World Championship in which he won second place.
Souzas BJJ technique is based on excellent positional control and being able to execute submissions from all angles. He is also one of the most consistent competitors on the circuit, rarely losing matches via submission. Souza's athleticism and grappling ability make him a difficult opponent to beat, no matter how experienced the other fighter may be.
5. Fabricio Werdum
Fabricio Werdum is one of the most successful BJJ fighters in history. He has won numerous titles, including the UFC Heavyweight Championship which he won three times. Werdum is also a black belt in both judo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is known for his explosive striking ability and decisive ground game.
6. Andre Galvão
Andre Galvão is a BJJ black belt who was taught by Eduardo de Freitas and Renzo Gracie. He currently fights out of Alliance Academy in Southern California. Galvão is a highly decorated grappler, having won numerous titles, including the ADCC World Submission Wrestling Championship, Pan American Championship in 2011, Ricardo Liborio Cup in 2012, and Grapplers Quest Proving Grounds. Recently, Andre was asked to be one of the coaches on Season 5 of The Ultimate Fighter: Brazil.
7. Rafael dos Anjos
Rafael dos Anjos is a BJJ black belt labeled as one of the best lightweight fighters in the world. Dos Anjos has an extensive record, including wins over prominent fighters like Benson Henderson, Anthony Pettis, and Donald Cerrone. Dos Anjos is currently ranked the number two BJJ fighter in the UFC lightweight division.
8. Renan Barao
Renan Barao is a decorated BJJ black belt taught by Rickson Gracie. Barao has won numerous titles, including the ADCC World Championship, ADCC Brazilian Nationals, and Pan American Championships. In 2010, he became the first person ever to win three championships in one year in the gi and no-gi BJJ absolute divisions. Renan is also a two-time jiu-jitsu world champion.
9. Rodrigo “Feijao” Ferreira
Rodrigo "Feijao" Ferreira is a BJJ black belt taught by coach Eduardo Freire and an excellent no-gi BJJ fighters. He is also known for his explosive speed and nearly impenetrable guard. Ferreira has medals from multiple tournaments, including the Abu Dhabi World Pro Championship in 2011, No-Gi World Championships in 2007 and 2010, and ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships in 2010. Apart from BJJ, Ferreira also has competed in judo competitions.
10. Carlos Gracie Jr.
One of the most successful and well-known BJJ fighters ever, Carlos Gracie Jr. is the son of Carlos Gracie, one of the pioneers of BJJ. A BJJ black belt, Gracie Jr. has amassed an impressive professional record, including winning multiple world championships and an appearance at the Rio Olympic Games.
11. Rickson Gracie
Renowned for his deadly submission skills, Rickson Gracie is considered by many to be the father of modern BJJ. Rickson is a five-time world champion, a three-time ADCC champion, and a much sought-after seminar instructor.
12. Royler Gracie
Royler Gracie is the son of Rickson Gracie, one of the most well-known Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu coaches and fighters in history. He teaches at the Rickson Gracie Academy in Torrance, California. A two-time world champion and ADCC champion, Royler Gracie is a living legend in BJJ circles. One of his most impressive no-gi tournament victories was his win over UFC Hall of Famer Matt Hughes in 2004.
13. TJ Dillashaw
TJ Dillashaw is one of the most decorated amateur BJJ fighters in history. After just a few years of training, Dillashaw was already a world champion and the best wrestler on his team. In 2009, he decided to focus entirely on BJJ, soon becoming one of the sport’s elite practitioners.
Dillashaw has won nearly every major BJJ title, including two world championships and four ADCC championships. He is also a two-time Abu Dhabi Grand Slam champion and a three-time Pan American Games medalist. Dillashaw has even claimed victory over some of the best veteran fighters in the sport, including Renzo and Rolls Gracie.
Outside of BJJ, Dillashaw is also an accomplished striker dut to having been trained in boxing. All of these skills combined make him one of the most dangerous martial artists in the world.
14. Demian Maia
Demian Maia is considered one of the top BJJ fighters of all time. He's won numerous world championships and is a two-time verdadeiro campeão (true champion) of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation. Maia started training in jiu-jitsu when he was only 10 years old under the tutelage of Carlson Gracie. In 2000, Demian Maia won his first professional BJJ championship, the South American Championships. In 2001, he won the ADCC Submission Only World Championship.
In 2002, Demian Maia became the IBJJF verdadeiro campeão (true champion). He defended his title in 2003 and 2005. In 2007, he lost his title to Rickson Gracie at the Confederação.
15. Fabio Maldonado
Fabio Maldonado is a world-renowned BJJ fighter. Maldonado has won numerous titles, including the ADCC World Championship, the IBJJF World Jiu-Jitsu Championship twice, the South American Jiu-Jitsu Championship three times, and the Pan American Jiu-Jitsu Championship, and the National Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Championship. Maldonado has also been featured in magazines such as Black Belt, BJJ USA, and GracieMag.
16. Jacare Souza
After a losing streak of four fights, Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza decided to retire from mixed-arts competition in 2021. He was defeated via armbar by Andre Muniz for his first submission.
Jacare began his MMA journey in 2003 during a jiu-jitsu career, which saw him win CBJJJ and ADCC titles. Jacare's success in submission grappling translated well to MMA. He won 14 of 26 career wins and never lost a grappling match during a fight. Jacare hinted at returning to the Jiu Jitsu competition when he announced his retirement in August 2021.
Jacare Souza, a BJJ black belt taught by Renzo Gracie, is one of the world's most well-known and decorated jiu-jitsu fighters, having won numerous accolades and several world championships.
17. Rodrigo Vaghi
Rodrigo is another BJJ black belt who also has expertise in other martial arts, such as judo and boxing. He has won many medals in international competitions, including the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championships, where he became the first to hold both submissions grappling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu titles simultaneously.
18. Last Words
In conclusion, the Top BJJ Fighters in the IBJJF are some of the best and most accomplished grapplers in the world. These athletes have won numerous championships and medals and continue to be among the top competitors in the sport. As a practitioner of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, it is essential to compete at the highest level possible. These athletes are excellent examples of how dedication and hard work can lead to success. We hope this will help you decide who to watch next time they compete!