Roberto “Gordo” Correa is one of the most important figures in Jiu Jitsu’s history. An important competitor during the 1990’s, Correa later became one of the head instructors at the Gracie Barra academy, where he helped shape IBJJF world champion grapplers such as Celso Vinicius, Braga Neto and many others. As a coach Roberto was sought out by many experts in the grappling game, champions like Kyra Gracie and Vinicius Magalhaes though his biggest contribution to the sport was the half guard, a specific position he developed as a purple belt.
Roberto Correa Gordo Jiu Jitsu
Full Name: Roberto Correa de Lima
Nickname: “Gordo” means Fat in Portuguese, the name was probably given to Roberto because he was a little overweight when he first started, although the reason has not been confirmed.
- IBJJF World Champion (1996)
- CBJJ Brazilian National Champion (1997*)
- IBJJF Pan American Champion (1996, 1997, 2001, 2003)
- IBJJF World Championship 2nd Place (1997)
- IBJJF Pans Championship 2nd Place (1996*, 1998***)
- CBJJ Brazilian National Championship 2nd Place (1996, 1997***, 2000)
** Weight and absolute
*** Closed final with team mate
Favourite Position/Technique: Meia-Guarda (Half Guard)
Weight Category: Medio or Meio-Pesado (181/194.5lbs)
Team/Association: Gordo Jiu Jitsu Evolve (formerly with Gracie Barra)
Roberto “Gordo” Correa Biography
Roberto Correa was born in 1971 in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Roberto grew up in the burgh of Tijuca, Rio de Janeiro, where he met a few of the Gracie family members. People like Ryan and Ralph Gracie (the latter one having been his kindergarten buddy). One of the benefits of growing up in Tijuca was it’s proximity to the “Barra” one of the best surfing spots in Rio, and “Gordo” grew fond of surfing from an early age sharing the spot with a few other Jiu Jitsu practitioners who also loved surfing.
Though Roberto shared the same environment as the Jiu Jitsu surfers, it wasn’t until 1985 (when he was 19) that he took his first BJJ class. starting off in the famous academy where Jean Jacques Machado taught. He continued training even after Jean Jacques moved to the United States, getting his tuition from some of the best instructors at the time.
When he was a purple belt, a defining moment in Roberto Correa’s life occurred. He injured his knee severely, an injury that prevented him from training, but “Gordo” wasn’t convinced and decided to return to the mats prematurely. In order to keep his knee safe, he started playing from the bottom controlling one of the legs of his opponent with his own legs. This was a position he used defensively to keep his opponents from passing his guard. People had “fallen” into this position before, but Roberto started exploring it to his benefit. He was so fruitful that he started training specifically this position even after his convalescence period being extremely successful both in class and in competition. People started calling it “Meia-Guarda” (English equivalent to Half-Guard) a position that became fundamental for any Jiu Jitsu fighter of the modern era.
Correa received his black belt in 1993 by the hands of Carlos Gracie Junior, the Gracie Barra president. He went on to have a very successful career as a competitor in the black belt divisions winning every major tournament available and being part of the 2 time World Champion Gracie Barra team of the 1990’s.
In 2007 Carlos Mata, the manager of most of the Gracie Barra MMA fight team members and personal friend of “Gordo” had an argument with Carlos Gracie Junior (the head of the Gracie Barra team), as a result, the team split having most of it’s fighters join Mata on the way out, some in support, others for contractual reasons. As Roberto Correa had been working with the team for a long time, he felt that he shouldn’t abandon the fighters and joined them forming the Gordo Jiu Jitsu/Evolution. Gordo never openly admitted breaking up with Gracie Barra, having expressed only that he felt the need to support the fighters who were left without a coach.
Today Roberto Gordo Correa is regarded as one of the best Jiu Jitsu instructors in Brazil. Many big names in the Jiu Jitsu and MMA game come to him regularly to request his technical advise.
Banner photo taken by William Burkhardt of BJJ Pix.
Roberto Correa “Gordo” vs Rogerio Olegario