Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt and a founding member of the Soul Fighters Academy. Formiga is also a top competitor in the lightweight division, with several important trophies as a black belt, such as 2 Brazilian National Titles.
Rafael Barbosa in Detail
Full Name: Rafael Monteiro Barbosa
Nickname: Rafael started being called “Formiga” when he began training Jiu Jitsu. He was the youngest student at 11 years of age in class filled with adults, so his coach would call him “Formiguinha” (small ant). With time Rafael developed into an adult and his team mates started calling him “Formiga” (ant).
- 2x New York Open Champion (2011 weight & absolute)
- Brazilian National Champion (2002)
- 2x Brasileiro de Equipes Champion (2008, 2009)
- Pan American Silver Medallist (2007)
- 3x World Bronze Medallist (2005, 2007, 2009)
- 3x Brazilian National Silver Medallist (2003, 2006, 2009)
Weight Division: Leve (76kg-167lbs)
Favourite Position/Technique: Butterfly Guard
Team/Association: Soul Fighters/ Best Way
Rafael Formiga Barbosa Biography
Rafael Barbosa was born on the 8th of January, 1983 in Rio de Janeiro – Brazil. He started training Jiu Jitsu when he was 11 years old, after watching Royce Gracie in action at the first UFC. Luckily for Formiga, there was an academy just around the corner from his house, and that is where he started training, with Alexey Cruz and André “Dedeco”.
He went through the ranks with “Dedeco” Almeida being awarded all belts by André, including his black belt in 2002. In 2008 Rafael and a few friends, such as his former school colleague Augusto Mendes “Tanquinho” decided to combine their efforts and form a new BJJ team, the Soul Fighters (www.soulfightersbjj.com). The idea was to bring people from different teams and all train together to improve each other in a friendly environment. An idea already put into place successfully in other sports, such as Judo and MMA. The project was prosperous and still runs strong today with it’s main school at Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro and also with affiliates spread throughout the world.
When André Almeida (Formiga’s former instructor) left to the United States in 2005, he left the door open for Rafael to follow his footsteps. And after a few years dwelling with the possibility, Rafael Barbosa opted to make the effort and move to the United States where he currently lives, teaching at the Best Way gym in Connecticut (bestwayjiujitsu.com)
Rafael Formiga vs Gilbert Durinho
Rafael Formiga vs Washington Espantalho (NU)
Rafael Formiga vs Rodrigo Bandit