When it comes to Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, one thing in everyone’s mind at some point in time is am I ready for BJJ competition? It’s natural. Like any other sport, if you are serious about getting better and testing your skills, you want to compete with the best. Same goes with Jiu Jitsu – if you truly want to test your skill on the mats, compete with top level competitors in the sport! But where do you find these elite competitors? There’s so many Jiu Jitsu Tournaments out there nowadays and not all of them are created equal! In this guide we take a look the most prestigious BJJ tournaments out there. We take a look at the top 9 Jiu Jitsu Tournaments for BJJ Gi competitors.
Introduction to the Best BJJ Tournament Organizations
Before we list out the best tournaments out there, we first take a gander at its governing bodies. There are plenty of BJJ Tournament Organizations out there today. As Jiu Jitsu’s popularity keeps growing, more and more organizations continue to pop up! But if you’ve been around the sport long enough, you’ll probably hear IBJJF and UAEJJF thrown around. These two organization will make the bulk of the best Jiu Jitsu tournaments. You’ll likely see the most elite top-level competitors mainly in these two organizations. However, there are some really good organizations starting to gain traction in the BJJ community. Here are some of the most famous tournament organizations:
IBJJF – International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation
UAEJJF – United Arab Emirates Jiu Jitsu Federation
SJJIF – Sport Jiu Jitsu International Federation
ADCC – Abu Dhabi Combat Club
JJWL – Jiu Jitsu World League
NAGA – North American Grappling Association
FIVE – FIVE Gi and No Gi Grappling
AGF – American Grappling Federation
There are certainly a much more vast list of competitions out there – it would be virtually impossible to name them all. But one thing to keep in mind is that not all competitions are created equal. Some are much smaller than others, where only the local to that particular city may participate. Other’s are much larger scale in the international level, brining in the top level fighters from around the globe. Without further ado, here are the top Jiu Jitsu tournaments for serious competitors in the sport!
Top 9 Jiu Jitsu Tournaments
IBJJF World Championship (Mundials)
IBJJF Worlds, also known as the Mundials, is the most prestigious and the best Jiu Jitsu tournament in the world. The tournament is held annually by the International Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Federation (IBJJF). It’s primarily held each year in the Summer in Long Beach, California.
IBJJF has been around for a couple decades now and their Mundial Tournament remains to be the most recognized tournament in the world. If you truly want to test your skills against the best in the world, the IBJJF World Championship Tournament is where you ought to go.
The best competitors in the world like Marcelo Garcia, Roger Gracie, Saulo and Xande Ribeiro, among many others had made a name for themselves by winning multiple events at the Mundials. It’s truly the holy grail when it comes to BJJ Tournaments. Winning at the Mundials holds the most weight when it comes to any other IBJJF competitions.
Competitors from all over the world come to compete at this highly esteemed BJJ Tournament. Black Belt winners from each division get price money ranging from $4000 to $7000 depending on how many competitors are signed up. Absolute Black Belt Champions are also awarded $10000 in price money regardless of how many competitors.
ADCC - Abu Dhabi Combat Club
ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) Submission Wrestling World Championship is the worlds largest and most esteemed No Gi grappling event in the world. This grappling competition will have the highest level athletes from BJJ competitors to other grappling sports. Expect to see competitors from different backgrounds; this can include Catch Wrestling, Judo, Sambo, BJJ, Olympic Wrestling, or MMA.
ADCC has been around since the late 90’s. It was created by Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the son of the former UAE President. Together with his BJJ coach Nelson Monteiro, they started the most modern form of submission grappling. It was originally hosted in Abu Dhabi in its formative years. ADCC is now hosted in several nations to include Brazil, China, USA, Finland, Spain, and the UK.
The ADCC Submission Grappling tournament has grown immensely throughout the years. It is highly regarded as one of the best grappling events to date. What’s great about it is that it attracts all types of grappling martial arts. This is truly where you can test your skills on the mats.
You’ll be seeing the best of the best in all Jiu Jitsu in these events. Even famous UFC fighters make it out to these! So, if you can win the ADCC championship, you are truly a grappling ace!
Winners for each male division gets $10000 in prize money. The winner in each women’s division gets $6000. The Absolute Division and Super Fight Winners get the max prize money of a whopping $40000! Altogether ADCC provides roughly around $230K in prize winnings.
UAEJJF - Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Cup
Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu Jitsu Cup (WPJJC) is the closest competitor to IBJJF in terms of the best Jiu Jitsu Tournaments out there. The World Pro Jiu Jitsu Cup is ran by the United Arab Emirates Jiu Jitsu Federation. WPJJC was started in 2009, supported by UAE Crowned Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan.
It is held the Mubadala Arena in Abu Dhabi every year, gathering male and female athletes from over 100 countries! This event has been rapidly growing in popularity in terms of competition. Although much younger than IBJJF, UAEJJF has been a growing organization that has attracted many of the best in the game.
World champions like Andre Galvao, Rafa Mendes, Lucas Lepri, Leandro Lo, and Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida frequents at these tournaments.
The most recent prize pool for this event is said to account for up to $500K! That’s the largest lumpsum of cash prizes in any BJJ event! On top of that, they hold several qualifying trial events – the victors of the event have all expenses paid for to the Abu Dhabi WPJJC Tournament.
IBJJF World No Gi Championship
The IBJJF World No Gi Championship is one of the best competitions you can join. In terms of No Gi competitions, the IBJJF Worlds is second to only ADCC. Just because ADCC has competitors from all suitors of grappling arts, it tends to get a much wider variety of fighters and is held at a much higher esteem.
When it comes to the Mundials, the Gi and No Gi World championships are split into two separate events. The Gi championships are held in the summer and the No Gi Championships are held in the winter.
The No Gi Worlds is one of the biggest and most famous tournaments around. It can sometimes attract an even wider variety of competitors. Some grapplers that do not particularly like the Gi for instance would likely show up World No Gi. You might even see some MMA fighters partaking.
Expect to see some elite No Gi grapplers like Gordon Ryan, Garry Tonon, Craig Jones, and folks from 10th Planet Jiu Jitsu testing out their skills against the best.
IBJJF Pan American Championship
The Pan American Championship, otherwise known as the “Pan-Ams,” is the second most popular IBJJF tournament out there. It is one of the reigning best Jiu Jitsu tournaments in the world and is the largest BJJ tournament held in North America.
The Pan-Ams is one of the most prestigious tournaments and attracts both Gi and No Gi competitors from all over the globe. It’s only held in the States but expect to see a variety of nationalities present at the event. Pan-Ams was the first step into internationalization of the sport back in 1995, with Rigan Machado taking the crown in its first installation.
The event has grown exponentially since then and now garners thousands of competitors every year! Expect to see some Black Belt elites in these tournaments. Keenan Cornelius, Andre Galvao, Bernardo Faria, Leandro Lo, Marcus Almeida, among many other legends take part frequently in these matches.
CBJJF - Campeonato Brasileiro (Brazilian Nationals)
Campeonato Brasileiro, or simply at its more commonly known as – the Brazilian Nationals is one of the best Jiu Jitsu tournaments you can join if you truly want to test your skills. In terms of weight, this one is actually lower than the Europeans and Pan Americans. Each of those are rated as “weighting of 4” while the Mundials are at a “weighting of 7.” The Brazilian Nationals are actually weighed at 3, but that doesn’t reflect in any way the skill level of the competition.
As Brazil is the home of BJJ, you can expect the most elite practitioners to be present at these tournaments – some of which who are unable to afford to travel or get sponsorship to make it to the international events. As the vast majority of champions in the Pan-Ams and Worlds are Brazilian, you can expect these elite competitors to be competing at their hometown.
If you compete at the Campeonato Brasileiro, you will be at the heart of BJJ competitions! Expect only the top elite fighters to be at these events. If you truly want to test your skillset, head out to Rio de Janeiro and compete with the best!
The IBJJF Europeans is the largest Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Tournament held in Europe. This event is weighted at the same level as the Pan-Ams, right underneath the Mundials. Winning at the Europeans holds a very high impact in your level of skill in BJJ.
The Europeans are held each year in Libson, Portugal since 2004. The tournaments are held at the beginning of each year, kickstarting the competition season.
It’s currently the largest BJJ tournament today as it has comprised the largest number of participants, even surpassing that of the Pan Americans! Expect to see more than 4000 BJJ competitors at these events.
Top competitors come from all over the world – from Brazil, US, Canada, Asia, and all Europe! This is a huge tournament, with very big turnouts. The event is placed at the Gymanasium Pavilhao Multiusos de Odvielas, a multi-functional building that generally houses performances, seminars, competitions, etc. So you can expect this to room a ton of people. It houses over 5000 seats in their main stadium to watch the event - its huge!
IBJJF Asian Open Championships
The IBJJF Asian Open Championships is currently the largest BJJ tournament held in Asia. It attracts competitors from all Asia, bringing in competitors from the States, Canada, Brazil, and Europe.
The Asian Open is weighted right underneath Pan-Ams and Europeans, at a weight rating of 3. The event is held annually in Tokyo, Japan. A few times it’s been held in Bangkok, Qatar, and Jordan, but is now held annually in Tokyo since 2013.
With Japan being the center and birthplace of Judo and original Japanese Jiu Jitsu, expect to see some high-level grapplers in this competition.
UAEJJF - Abu Dhabi Grand Slam
Every year, UAEJJF implements the Grand Slam Tournament outside of Abu Dhabi. The Grand Slam tour is held in Tokyo, Los Angeles, Rio de Janeiro, and London.
Each of the Grand Slam Tours have a total Prize pool of $110,000. Only the first place in the Blue Belt division is awarded a cash prize, while colored belts 1st through 3rd place are awarded winnings. For First Place, Male Adult Black Belts are awarded $2500, Male Master Black Belts are awarded $1200, and Female Adult Black Belts are awarded $1500. The best team academies are also rewarded with a $3000 prize.
With all the prize earnings from the event, you can bet that mid to high level practitioners tend to partake in the matches.
JJWL - Jiu Jitsu World League
The Jiu Jitsu World League, created by BJJ Legend and famous celebrity BJJ trainer Rigan Machado, is a Gi-Only tournament that ranks fighters through a series of tournaments and events. Their aim is to not only professionalize Jiu Jitsu, but also bring in more action, better fights, and better all-around entertainment. JJWL is promoted in 12 cities and has a grand total of $250K in prize money in their pool!
EBI - Eddie Bravo Invitational
EBI or the Eddie Bravo Invitational, is a new and exciting Jiu Jitsu event founded by 10th Planet founder Eddie Bravo. The EBI tournament is a No Gi grappling competition that changed the game of submission grappling. It is strictly a submission-only grappling style that eliminates the point system. In this new exciting format, it has brought over some really big names to include Eddie Cummings, Garry Tonon, and Craig Jones.
The Polaris Pro Grappling event is Europe’s largest scale professional grappling match to date. Following suit in the EBI format of sub-only, the point system is eliminated. You can only win via submission or referee decision. The event has attracted some of the biggest names in the sport of BJJ, wrestling, and MMA. With so many successful events and the diversity of matchups they have been able to produce, they have been growing very rapidly in popularity.
FIVE Gi and No Gi Grappling
Five Gi and No Gi Grappling is an organization devoted to growing the sport of BJJ and submission grappling as a whole. With this fast-growing organization, they have earned a high reputation of creating top level experience for both competitors and spectators alike. It holds several local tournaments in the US as well as promote their super fight event: Five Super League (5SL). In the 5SL, there are usually 20 bouts in the fight card, followed by an 8-Man Super League Bracket in the submission-only rule format.
SJJIF - Sport Jiu Jitsu International Federation Championship
The Sport Jiu Jitsu International Federation is the official non-profit governing body for BJJ. It was led by Professor Joao Silva, along with a few other big wigs in the game. Their goal was to professionalize BJJ and unify BJJ organizations in the attempt to recognize the sport into the Olympics. SJJIF has grown immensely since it was founded, and now has federations across Asia, Europe, Africa, North/South America, and Oceania. Some of their events feature 2500 participants, even the biggest names in the game like Keenan Cornelius, Gustavo Elias, and Sean Roberts.
As Brazilian Jiu Jitsu continues to expand, the different levels of competition grow with it. The game keeps on evolving and so do their tournaments. There’s a vast number of tournaments to choose from these days, it can get confusing which one to choose from!
Obviously, not every tournament will get you the level of competition or results you desire. Some attract only the top-level elites while others attract only the locals for beginner-friendly matches.
Depending on your skill level and desire to compete, you can choose from a large variety of tournaments. Or maybe you are getting that burning desire to test your skills? If that’s the case head on over and hit up the top 9 Jiu Jitsu Tournaments and take on the best!