Rafael “Formiga” Barbosa is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under André “Dedeco” Almeida, being also one of the founding members of the Soul Fighters Team as well as the Double 5 Academy. During the 2000’s decade, Rafael Formiga is also widely regarded as of the top competitors of his generation, as well as one of the best butterfly guard players the sport has ever seen.
Rafael Barbosa Jiu-Jitsu
Full Name: Rafael Monteiro Barbosa
Nickname: Rafael started being called “Formiga” (ant in Portuguese) when he began training Jiu-Jitsu. He was the youngest student at 11 years of age in a class filled with adults, so his coach would call him “Formiguinha” (little ant). With time Rafael developed into an adult and his teammates started calling him “Formiga”.
- 1st Place IBJJF Masters World Championship (2014 / 2015 / 2018**)
- 1st Place IBJJF New York Open (2011**)
- 1st Place CBJJ Brazilian Nationals (2002)
- 1st Place CBJJ Brazilian Teams Nationals (2008, 2009)
- 2nd Place IBJJF Masters World Championship (2015* / 2016)
- 2nd Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2007)
- 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship (2005 / 2007 / 2009)
- 3rd Place CBJJ Brazilian National (2003 / 2006 / 2009)
** Weight and absolute
Weight Division: Peso Leve (76kg-167lbs)
Favorite 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 merge their efforts and form a new BJJ team, to which they called Soul Fighters. The idea was to bring people from different teams and all train together to improve each other in a friendly environment. An idea that had reaped good results in other sports, such as judo and mixed martial arts. The project was prosperous and still runs strong today with its 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. In 2019, after numerous years representing the Soul Fighter banner, Formiga separated from the team he had founded, to create a new association, in partnership with João Gabriel Rocha – Double Five (D5).