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

BJJ Fanatics Instructionals
Rafael Barbosa
, / 20704 1

Rafael Barbosa

Digitsu Free BJJ Techniques

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 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 class filled with adults, so his coach would call him “Formiguinha” (little ant). With time Rafael developed into an adult and his team mates started calling him “Formiga”.

Lineage: Mitsuyo Maeda > Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Carlson Gracie > Crézio de Souza > André Almeida > Rafael Barbosa

Main Achievements:

  • New York Open Champion (2011 weight & absolute)
  • Brazilian National Champion (2002)
  • Brasileiro de Equipes Champion (2008, 2009)
  • World Masters Silver Medallist (2016 Master 1)
  • Pan American Silver Medallist (2007)
  • World Bronze Medallist (2005, 2007, 2009)
  • 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 ( 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 (

Rafael Formiga vs Gilbert Durinho

Rafael Formiga vs Washington Espantalho (NU)

Rafael Formiga vs Rodrigo Bandit

One Comment

Leave A Reply

Your email address will not be published.