If you are an avid fan of the martial arts, it’s highly likely you’ve come across Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. BJJ has had a tremendous impact in the world of martial arts in the mid-90’s.
Ever since Royce Gracie’s legendary performance in the early days of Mixed Martial Arts in the first UFC event, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has immensely grown in popularity. Royce Gracie shocked the world by winning the very first UFC, beating competitors twice his size!
Fast forward a few decades later, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu has grown immensely! It is considered as one of the fastest growing martial arts in the world! With it’s obvious effectiveness in the sport, it is considered as one of the best fighting styles for MMA and self-defense. In fact, some of the very best Jiu Jitsu Practitioners have crossed over to MMA at some point in their career and found tremendous success!
In this article, we take a look at some of the best that’s ever done it. We take a look at the top 10 greatest of all time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners who’s proved themselves as legends on the mats.
The first on the list will have to be Roger Gracie. He is arguably the greatest of all time BJJ practitioners that’s done it.
He can be considered the GOAT for several reasons. One of the main reasons is that he has beaten some of the greatest world class black belts like Buchecha, Xande Ribeiro, and Ronaldo Jacare. And not just beat them by points, he submitted all of them! Plus, he has never been submitted ever – his defenses are phenomenal.
For two decades, Roger Gracie has dominated and submitted most of his opponents. His Jiu Jitsu is a beauty to be seen. He simply sticks to the basics, and submits you with it. He’ll be right on top of you and choke you with a basic cross choke!
He is a 14x World Champ and the first grappler to ever finish all 8 of his opponents in the ADCC tournament. He's an absolute master of the sport!
Marcelo "Marcelinho" Garcia
Marcelo Garcia, also known as “Marcelinho,” is a true legend at the sport. Even though he has never crossed trained into MMA, many still recognize the name. His BJJ School Marcelo Garcia Jiu-Jitsu Academy in New York City is a well-renown school and is considered a BJJ Mecca and one of the Top Schools in the world.
Despite his small size, Marcelo Garcia has time and again beaten some of the greatest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners. He has beaten the likes of Andre Galvao, Xande Ribeiro, Robert Drysdale, Kron Gracie, and Demian Maia. And these guys are all savages in the mat!
Marcelo is simply world class and one of the best that’s ever done it. He is a 5x IBJJF World Champion and a 4x ADCC Champion.
Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida
Marcus Almeida, widely known as “Buchecha,” is considered as one of the greatest grapplers in his generation to date. This Checkmat BJJ Academy Black Belt is one of the most decorated BJJ fighters to date.
Some of his main achievements include:
7x IBJJF World Champion
2x ADCC World Champion
4x UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Pro Champion
Buchecha was also the first to be able to finally dethrone the Roger Gracie’s winning record!
Alexander “Xande” is the younger brother of Saulo Ribeiro. A BJJ Hall of Famer, Xande is one of the most decorated athletes in the sport. With his outstanding record, BJJ Heroes named him as the #1 Top 10 BJJ Fighters of all time!
He is a 5x IBJJF World Champ, a 4x IBJJF Pan Champ, and a 2x ADCC champion.
There are no arguments there, he easily makes the top 10 all time greats! With a whopping 160 wins his BJJ career, he is truly one of the best that’s done it.
Together with his older brother, they run University of Jiu Jitsu, one of the best BJJ schools in the nation.
You don’t have to be a Jiu Jitsu fan to know the likes of Andre Galvao. He is an 8x IBJJ Pan American champ, a 5x IBJJF World Champ, an ADCC champion, and a 3x UAEJJF World Champ!
Galvao has made a reputation for himself as one of the best in the sport, beating the likes of Rafael Lovato, Roberto Abreu, and Buchecha.
He shortly cross trained into the world of MMA as well. With a record of 5-2-0, he decided to end his career early on to run ATOS Jiu Jitsu in San Diego. Galvao has successfully grown the school to be one of the top BJJ schools in the world! If you are looking for where to train BJJ, look no further – ATOS is a top tier school, with world class BJJ competitors!
A true legend and master of the sport, Saulo Ribeiro is highly regarded as one of the best grapplers in all BJJ. He is a Judo black belt and got his BJJ black belt from Royler Gracie, grand master Helio Gracie’s son.
A BJJ Hall of famer and one of the most decorated athletes, he is a 2x ADCC Champ, a 5x IBJJF World Champ, a 3x World Masters Champ, among many others.
Saulo has also tried MMA out, obtaining a 2-1 record, just to try it out – his primary focus still remained in BJJ.
Together, he and his brother Xande run the BJJ School University of Jiu Jitsu in San Diego.
Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza is well renown BJJ and MMA fighter. He is regarded as one of the middle weight fighters in MMA. He is one of the most successful BJJ fighters that was able to cross train in the sport and dominate his opponents.
But that’s not all. His Jiu Jitsu is also top notch! He trained under Henrique Machado.
He has beaten legendary fighters like Marcelo Garcia, Roger Gracie, and Robert Drysdale. He has an MMA record of 26-7-1 as of 2019 and was a former Strikeforce Middleweight Champ.
Truly one of the best BJJ practitioners of his time, he is a 5x IBJJF World Champ (2 at black, 2 at brown, and 1 at purple). He is also an ADCC Champ and won an ADCC super fight against Robert Drysdale.
Leandro Lo is considered to be one of the best that’s ever done it. Many even regard him as one of the pound for pound kings to ever grace the sport. His innate ability to win his matches regardless of weight class is super impressive. He's easily one of the greatest of all time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu athletes today.
What makes him so successful is his overall versatility in BJJ. Whether he plays top or bottom, he is super effective. He has excellent guard passing techniques and versatile Spider Guard techniques to keep his opponents at bay.
He has a whopping 252 wins under his belt and has been submitted only a handful of times. He is a 6x IBJJF World Champ, 6x IBJJF Pan Am Champ, and a 4x UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Pro Champion. He has beaten the likes of Lucas Lepri, Gregor Gracie, and Keenan Cornelius in multiple occasions.
Lucas Lepri is an absolute beast in the mats. He is easily one of the most successful competitors in the lightweight division. He has beaten some of the greatest of all time practitioners out there. He has beaten Paulo Miyao, Garry Tonon, and Kaynan Duarte.
What makes Lucas Lepri so good is that he is very well rounded in the sport. He has excellent takedowns, a very efficient guard passing game, and a deadly guard. He is the current reigning IBBJF World Champ in his division, winning the crown 6 years in a row!
Some of his major accomplishments include:
7x IBJJF World Champion
3x IBJJF No Gi World Champion
1x UAEJJF Abu Dhabi World Pro Champ
5x IBJJF Pan Champion
Romulo Barral is a solid Jiu Jitsu competitor. With his accomplishments and the opponents he’s beaten, Barral makes the list for top greatest of all time Brazilian Jiu Jitsu practitioners.
He was at one point coined the #1 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competitor in the world in 2007 by Graciemag.
Romulo is an IBJJF World Champ, an ADCC Champ, and has even competed professionally in MMA and won both of his matches via rear-naked choke submission. However, even after his success in Mixed Martial Arts, he chose to keep his focus on strictly BJJ.
He got his blackbelt in 2005 and rose through the ranks quickly. In beating legends like Saulo Ribeiro, Xande Ribeiro, and Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, Romulo quickly established himself as one of the top competitors in the sport. Even top MMA fighters like Dan Henderson and King Mo would ask to be trained by Romulo
He is a 1x ADCC World Champ, 5x IBJJF World Champ, 1x World Masters Champ, and 1x IBJJF Pan American Champion.