Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Team History, Fighter Stats, Biographies and News

Top 10 BJJ Fighters of all Time

Welcome to the BJJ Heroes’ Top 10 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competitors of All Time’ list. This is the 3rd generation of the list as we have always tried to improve on the previous sortings. On our first improvement we added a scoring system to the list in an effort to make this list as unbiased as possible. We have now decided to separate the list in 4 weight categories (and one overall):

This split was decided as most heavier weights tend to do better in the absolute divisions, also the competitiveness of the lower weight divisions is arguably not as high as some of the others. But if you are not interested in these, we also have a pound for pound best in BJJ, the open weight list.

The scoring system remains the same as before. The points are awarded per medal in the black belt division of all 4 major competitions of the sport. The two main competitions (World Championship/Mundial and ADCC) were given more relevance as they are the cream of the crop of BJJ tournaments while the other two (that arguably are just as hard as the aforementioned) are seen as lower in overall significance.

Scoring System:

Points Awarded Per Medal
Gold / 1st place Silver / 2nd place Bronze / 3rd place
Mundial 4 3 1
ADCC 4 3 1
Pan Am 3 2 1
Brasileiro 3 2 1


The Lightweights: under 70kg/154lbs
Cobrinha-top10

The King Is: Rubens Charles Maciel (Cobrinha)
At the top spot of the lighter weights is Rubens Charles, the king of the featherweights for 4 years straight, winning against everyone in his division with the use of his aggressive and crowd pleasing game. The Alliance team member made the De-La-Riva guard his weapon of choice, being a great influence in the evolution of the guard, and has kept his consistency holding podium spots at the world championships for 9 years straight!

Rank
First Name
Last Name
Nickname
Team
Total Points
1RubensCharlesCobrinhaAlliance62
2BrunoMalfacineAlliance57
3RafaelMendesAtos43
4MarioReisAlliance, Gracie, Behring41
5Royler GracieGracie Humaita38
6FredsonPaixaoOsvaldo Alves32
7CaioTerraCTBJJA31
8RobsonMouraRobinhoNova Uniao28
9GuilhermeMendesAtos25
9BibianoFernandesMestre Pina25
10Alexandrede FreitasSocaGracie Barra18


The Middleweights: under 82kg/181lbs
Marcelinho-top10

The King Is: Marcelo Garcia (Marcelinho)
One of the most creative grapplers of all time, the Alliance academy prodigy stayed at the the top of (arguably) the most stacked division in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for years on end; mastering a variety of techniques from arm drags, to his famous guilhotina, north south chokes, X-Guard, and others. Marcelinho has helped shape the landscape of Jiu Jitsu both in kimono and in No Gi.

Rank
First Name
Last Name
Nickname
Team
Total Points
1MarceloGarciaMarcelinhoAlliance69
2MarcioFeitosaGracie Barra63
3MichaelLanghiAlliance37
4Fernando AugustoSilvaTerereAlliance, TT35
4LeonardoVieiraLeozinhoCheckmat, Alliance35
5RonaldoSouzaJacare31
5OtavioSousaGracie Barra31
6LucasLepriAlliance30
7CelsoViniciusCelsinhoRyan Gracie25
8VitorRibeiroShaolinNova Uniao23
8AntonioSchembriNinoGracie Barra23
9EduardoConceicaoJamelãoAlliance18
10DemianMaiaBrasa16


The Heavyweights: under 94kg/207lbs
Xande2-Top10

The King Is: Alexandre Ribeiro (Xande)
Alexandre Ribeiro is by our account the greatest Jiu Jitsu competitor to have entered a mat. Alexandre is known for his cerebral approach to BJJ and competition, a weapon he has used to defeat great names of the sport such as Marcelo Garcia and Roger Gracie. With good stand-up, fantastic pressure when passing the guard, and a guard that was only passed one time in his career, Xande had all the tools, being one of the most complete fighters of our sport.

Rank
First Name
Last Name
Nickname
Team
Total Points
1AlexandreRibeiroXandeRibeiro Jiu Jitsu74
2AndreGalvaoAtos66
3Saulo RibeiroRibeiro Jiu Jitsu64
4RomuloBarralGracie Barra61
5RobertoMagalhaesRoletaGracie Barra44
6BraulioEstimaCarcaraGracie Barra40
7FabioGurgelGeneralAlliance38
8RafaelLovato JrRibeiro Jiu Jitsu35
9RodolfoVieiraBlack Belt HunterGF Team32
10RobertoCorreaGordoGordo JJ30


The Ultra Heavyweights: over 94kg/207lbs
Roger-Top10

The King Is: Roger Gracie
Some one once said: “there are a lot of great Jiu Jitsu fighters out there, and then there’s Roger”. Roger Gracie made his mark in the sport as the first man to achieve three golden medals at the open weight division, a cool blooded submission artist who became the first grappler to finish all his opponents in the ADCC tournament (weight & absolute). Roger and Xande fought several times with the score being in Rogers favor (5 victories to 3 of Xande’s), however, Ribeiro’s consistence in the sport gave him the upper-hand on the scoreboard.

Rank
First Name
Last Name
Nickname
Team
Total Points
1RogerGracieGracie Barra69
2MarcioCruzPé de PanoGracie Barra47
3MarcusAlmeidaBuchechaCheckmat46
4BernardoFariaAlliance44
5AntonioBraga NetoGordo JJ34
6RodrigoMedeirosCompridoBrasa32
7FabricioWerdumVai CavaloWinner-Behring28
9Jose MarioSperryZe MaquinaBrazilian Top Team25
10LeonardoLeiteAlliance20


The Best Pound for Pound Best in BJJ (Pound 4 Pound)
Xander-Top10

Rank
First Name
Last Name
Nickname
Team
Total Points
1AlexandreRibeiroXandeRibeiro Jiu Jitsu74
2MarceloGarciaMarcelinhoAlliance69
2RogerGracieGracie Barra69
3AndreGalvaoAtos66
4Saulo RibeiroRibeiro Jiu Jitsu64
5MarcioFeitosaGracie Barra63
6RubensCharlesCobrinhaAlliance62
7RomuloBarralGracie Barra61
8BrunoMalfacineAlliance57
9MarcioCruzPé de PanoGracie Barra47
10MarcusAlmeidaBuchechaCheckmat46
Honorable Mentions
Though this list is based only on competitive achievements, there are certain figures of BJJ that deserve their mention in the top of all time. These are Jiu Jitsu black belts who were part of an era where competition was active but records were poorly kept, and though they cannot be in an official listing of this website, they deserve the admiration of this great BJJ community by the strength of their achievements. And without any specific order, these men are:

Rickson Gracie: Often regarded as the best Jiu Jitsu fighter of all time, Rickson competed for years in hundreds of matches in several different disciplines (No Holds Barred, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sambo, etc) with the only loss on record coming in a Sambo competition by points.

Rolls Gracie: Rolls is another member of the Gracie family that is always present as one of the top athletes of all time, he was a creator of positions and one of the first people in Jiu Jitsu to believe in cross training, bringing a lot of Judo and Wrestling techniques to help grow BJJ. He was also the family’s top competitor in the 1970′s, ending his reign undefeated.

Cássio Cardoso: A student of Carlson Gracie, Cassio only had one loss in his competitive career, a loss to Marcelo Behring (which he avenged afterwards in an epic 90 minute battle). Cassio was regarded as the best student in the Carlson Gracie gym and one of the most complete fighters that ever lived.

João Alberto Barreto: Famous for being Gracie Jiu Jitsu’s top representative in the 1950s, Joao Alberto spent his entire career without tasting the bitter flavor of defeat. He competed extensively (mainly in Vale Tudo matches) and is known to have never lost a fight.

Amauri Bitetti: the first open weight world champion, a deed he accomplished twice in his career, Amauri Bitetti was one of the top competitors of his generation, considered by most as the top man in BJJ after Rickson Gracie hung up his Jiu Jitsu gi.

This post is also available in: Portuguese (Brazil)

148 Comments

  • Jose says:

    Honestly how do you do honorable mentions and not mention Jean Jacques Machado, all the other guys you mentioned also did not compete in major tournaments or there was poor record keeping like you said. Jean Jacques was definitely one of thos guys, he competed in like the 1st or 2nd ADCC and was the only man to win every match by submission. His contribution to nogi has been huge and to the gi as well.

  • anonymous says:

    If Bibiano Fernandes hadn't switched to MMA, he'd be on this list. He was racking up Golds at the world level when he transitioned.

  • Thadeu Vieira says:

    Take the 3rd place out of count to Xande e Saulo they tie!

  • Romulo says:

    I think I have 41 points can u guys check I did I quick think. If I’m 41 I should be on the list .i not sure .

    • bjjheroes says:

      Hey Romulo, just checked and you are right. You actually have 45 points, so I've added you to the list. The list was made over one year ago, so there might be some changes to it soon.

      Thanks for checking

  • DomDom says:

    Roger Gracie has won 10 times at the worlds!

  • jay says:

    great article, and it spurred comments, thoughts and debate. sure, I want de la riva in there but the writer was fair and did a great job. nice to be reminded of the founding fathers of bjj!

  • sebastian says:

    tambien podia estar demian maia y fernando terere

  • David says:

    10 + 3 = 13 for Roger's Mundial titles, not 5 as listed. maybe someone already commented on this, but you might want to update your table.

  • Samo says:

    War Megaton!!!!!!

  • Mike says:

    P4P I believe Marcelo is the best. Consistently outweighed in the Absolute division, he has competed at the highest level. Technique be damned. When you are competing against competitors who are equally or near equally skilled, the weight difference matters.

  • Michael says:

    It's interesting that so many people critique the list. I think it's a terrific resource that you made the list at all!

  • yolo says:

    The only way to compare an athlete is by their achievements. The only people who have problem with this method of classification are people who do not compete, and a few competitions, do not make you a competitor.

  • HEKK says:

    BUCHECHA????? Buchecha should be on here. The list cannot be complete without buchecha!!!!

  • Maziar says:

    Where are Demian maia? Ronaldo jacare Souza? Robert drysdale? Fabricio werdum? Antonio minotauro nogeuira etc. They should absolutely be high on the list

  • Maziar says:

    And I forgot vinny magelheas and braulio estima…

  • Gustavo says:

    Eu acho que o absoluto do ADCC deveria valer bem mais, já que o campeão não tem outras oportunidades de disputar. Assim Roger iria pra primeiro do ranking. Parabéns pelo trabalho, melhor e mais completa fonte de informação sobre jiu jitsu brasileiro que eu conheço. Melhor que isso só se tivesse também em português, para que os próprios brasileiros possam conhecer mais sobre a arte suave.

  • handsome man says:

    Why are guys like Helio and Carlos Gracie not here? There are suppose to be founders and are of the highest rank in the entire BJJ discipline? Don't tell me the students or the competitors are better than them?

  • Brandon Ruiz says:

    Points here should’ve been weighted more like in the top active fighters list. I dont see how Roger Gracie can be tied for #2 w 12 world titles. How is there even a question he is #1?!? Having non golds at non world championships shouldnt be able to trump that. I do enjoy your site and i enjoy the list.

    i am disappointed that there are athletes with more world titles than those on the list that are not listed here. Also why not include a list of instructors or those who’ve made contributions to the art separately? Not all competitors contribute & vice a versa.

    Love the site and hope to see more athlete bios. Thx. BR

  • carlson gracie uk says:

    Tem neguinho muito chato ai dando pitaco. Deixa o cara fazer o trabalho delw e vao treinar poooorrraaaa

  • Frank says:

    Helio”Soneca” Moriera should be on the list.

  • Angelo Carbone says:

    Could you please let me know how JJM is not on this list, thank you.

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