Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most popular forms of the mix martial arts, and there are many BJJ players in the UFC, and there are many occasions in the UFC when with the techniques of the BJJ, small fighter knocks down the popular one. There is no chance that a mixed martial arts fan does not know about the BJJ, but there was a time in the ’90s when there was a craze of the BJJ.
The first UFC event was won by Royce Gracie’s who was a BJJ fighter; this increases the popularity of the BJJ among MMA lovers. There is a history of BJJ legends who prove that BJJ techniques are better than any other form of martial arts, and today we are going to talk about those practitioners who perform well on the BJJ mats.
Table of Contents
1. Royce Gracie
No one would argue about Royce Gracie’s first position in this list because he was the reason why the BJJ and UFC became popular globally. If you are a BJJ fan, you might know that he was the student of Helio Gracie, known to be the father of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Royce Gracie fought the first event of the UFC, and nobody even thought that a small BJJ fighter would win this championship.
He won the first championship, but he was the champion of three events from the first four. His scores in the event were 11 -0, and the most exciting part is that he won all his fights with the submission of all big fighters. At that time, the BJJ was something new for the fighters, and they haven’t seen these kinds of skills yet so, they were helpless.
If we look back from now, Royce Gracie had played an essential role in making grappling and BJJ popular among the people who are recognizing it as a sport. So, we can call him the king of BJJ or grappling sports.
Not only this, but there is another record in the bucket of Royce Gracie, and that is he fought the longest fight in the history of UFC. In UFC 5, the fight was between Ken Shamrock and Royce Gracie, and it goes on for 36 minutes and after 36 minutes, it was declared to be a draw.
2. Marcelo Garcia
He is another one of the biggest fighters of the BJJ sports. He is also known as “Marcelinho.” He is a top-rated fighter, and if you are into BJJ, then you might know him. If you are a student of BJJ or you had dreamed of learning the BJJ, then you might see the name of his academy in New York. His academy is considered to be the mecca for BJJ learners and lovers.
If you have seen the appearance of Marcelo Garcia, then you might not be convinced of what we are talking about because he is very small in size but believe us, he has beaten the most famous practitioners in the BJJ. We are not talking about some ordinary players; he won against the practitioners like Andre Galvao, Xande Ribeiro, Robert Drysdale, Kron Gracie, and Demian Maia.
These all players are the king of the mat, so Marcelo Garcia was a world-class player of BJJ. He was the five times champion of the international Brazilian Jiu-jitsu championship and four times champion of the ADCC championship.
3. Ronaldo Souza (Jacare)
Ronaldo Souza is another one of the best BJJ players in Brazil known for his BJJ skills. “Jacare.” is his widely known name in the BJJ world. If you have ever followed him then you might see that he is famous because he won the fight against the three former champions of the UFC, and those champions were Robbie Lawler, Chris Weidman, and Vitor Belfort.
Beating these legends was not common for anyone, but he won all fights against these legendary players with his BJJ skills. If we look at the career fights of Ronaldo, then he won the 26 fights in his career, and the good thing is that he won 14 with the submissions, which is a massive thing for the BJJ player.
He was very famous because of his chokes, armbars, and kimura’s techniques, and these were the critical factors in his all 26 wins. There were eight gold medals in the bucket of Ronaldo Souza from the BJJ championships, and the history of the BJJ knows him as one of the most dangerous grappling players on the mat, which is a great owner for a BJJ practitioner.
4. Marcus Almeida
He is another one of the pro fighters of the BJJ world, and the name widely knew him of “Buchecha,” There are many experts that say that he was one of the most adorable and outclass players of his generation. He is the black belt from the checkmate academy, and he was one of those players that the academy is proud of.
If we talk about his winning records, he was the seven-time champion of the international Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world championship. He was twice ADCC World Champion and four times winner of the UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Pro Championship. This track record shows that he was one of the most celebrated players of his generation.
You might be a wonder to know that he was the first BJJ player who dethrones the famous BJJ player of his time Roger Gracie’s, by making more winning records than him!
5. Tony Ferguson (El Cucuy)
Tony Ferguson is a black belt Brazilain Jiu-Jitsu player under Eddie Bravo in his academy 10th planet. They make the BJJ athletes suitable for MMA fights, making Ferguson the craziest fighter on the list. The most interesting thing is that he has techniques with them; he can knock down his competitors wherever he wants.
He has the record in his bucket that he hasn’t lost any fight for eight years which is the longest winning streak in UFC history. He has a very unorthodox training routine, doing weight cuts even though he hasn’t a fight going on, making him very dangerous for his competitors.
If you are a UFC fan, then you might have heard about the most awaited fight of Tony Ferguson with Khabib Nurmagomedov, but in five years, these fights got canceled. He also has three D’Arce choke finishes in UFC history which makes him the best BJJ player for the D’Arce choke finishes.
6. Alexander Ribeiro
Alexander Ribeiro is again one of the most famous practitioners in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and they have a great family history of the BJJ. If you are a BJJ fan, you might know about Saulo Ribeiro; he was also a great player, and you will be surprised to learn that Alexander Ribeiro is the younger brother of Saulo Ribeiro, you can say that BJJ is in their blood.
The Alexender or “Xande” is one of the best athletes, and he is in the top 10 most talented and celebrated players of the BJJ. You might want to know about his achievements, because of which we added him to this list.
He is the five times winner of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu championship; then, he won four times the IBJJF Pan Championship and two times the ADCC championship which makes him eligible for this list. If we talk about his BJJ career, you might not believe it, but he has 160 wins in his bucket; this shows how capable he is in the BJJ.
Now both brothers are on the mission to teach the children of nation BJJ, and for their mission, they have started a university in which they teach international level Jiu-Jitsu to their students.
7. Nate Diaz
He is another great practitioner of the BJJ, and he is a student of Cesar Gracie. He is an American, and he is a second-degree black belt in the BJJ. He is now retired from the fights and running a BJJ academy in California named Nate Diaz academy, where he teaches students BJJ.
Now let’s talk about his career so; he has 20 wins in his bucket, and 11 are from the submission, which is a pretty impressive rate and proves that he has a great grip on his grappling techniques. He has many other awards and the bonuses of the UFC in his pockets. He has won the fight of the night award eight times and the submission award four times.
He makes the biggest upset of his life and the history of UFC against Conor McGregor in 2016, who was a legend at that time. He holds the tied record with Jim Miller for the most submission wins in the UFC, and he has also tied with Joe Lauzon with the most post-fight bonus awards in UFC history, which makes him suitable for this list.
8. Andre Galvao
Andre Galvao is again a top-rated player in the MMA and BJJ, and he proved himself by beating the most popular players of his time, like Rafael Lovato, Roberto Abreu, and Buchecha. These players are the best, but Andre Galvao defeated them and took the best BJJ title.
You know well that to be on this list, the player should have an excellent track record of his career so, if we look into his career, then he has won the IBJJ Pan American champ eight times, IBJJF World Champ five times, UAEJJF World Champ and the ADCC champion one time this proves his talent and grip on his BJJ skills.
A few weeks later, he also started training in MMA. Five wins and two losses convinced him to leave early to run the ATOS Jiu-Jitsu facility in San Diego. The school has grown into one of the top BJJ schools in the world with Galvao’s guidance! You don’t need to look any further for the best place to train BJJ – ATOS is a world-class BJJ school with world-class athletes!
9. Anderson Silva – The Spider
One of the greatest fighters in MMA history, Anderson “The Spider” Silva, peaked when he competed. It is reported that he was the UFC Middleweight champion for the longest period of time, holding the title for 2,457 days. From 2006 to 2013, he was a champion. His ten consecutive title defenses and 16 victories were ranked second-best for an individual during this period.
Antonio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira is Silva’s teacher and the third-degree BJJ black belt specialist. Despite his primarily stand-up style and arguably being one of the best strikers of all time in MMA, I couldn’t leave him out.
It is usually underrated how strong he is on the ground. He has defeated top-level grapplers such as Olympic wrestler Dan Henderson, Brazilian jiu-jitsu master Travis Lutter, and Olympic alternate Chael Sonnen in his era. He has the record of second-most defenses in the history of the UFC; he defended ten times.
10. Leandro Lo
In terms of his ability to do this, Leandro Lo is considered one of the best. It is even said that he is one of the greatest boxers ever to represent pound-for-pound. No matter what weight class he competes in, he almost always wins. Athletes today who do Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu struggle to compete with him.
The key to his success in BJJ is his versatility. He is highly effective regardless of where he plays. Spider Guard is his preferred technique for keeping opponents at bay. He has excellent guard passing skills.
His impressive resume includes 252 victories and only eight submissions. His achievements include six IBJJF World Championships, six Pan American Championships, and four UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Pro Championships. Despite being a relatively new fighter, he’s defeated Lucas Lepri, Gregor Gracie, and Keenan Cornelius numerous times.
These are the 10 BJJ heroes from the history of the UFC that grip the BJJ, and they proved that BJJ is not less than any other form of MMA. They were the reason so, we have the BJJ as a sport, and we should appreciate them and celebrate their awards and honor them with great respect.