Steffen Banta is a jiu-jitsu black belt under coach João Gabriel Rocha and a representative of team Alliance in the sport’s global circuit, who also represented Soul Fighters and Double Five in the past. Banta made a name for himself as one of the sport’s most promising stars while competing in the colored belt divisions of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF) league, where he conquered numerous tournament titles, leading to his 2022 placement as the #1 ranked brown belt in the world (no-gi rules).
Steffen Banta Jiu-Jitsu
Full Name: Steffen M. Banta
Lineage: Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie >Carlson Gracie > Crézio de Souza > André Almeida > Rafael Barbosa / Leandro Escobar > João Gabriel Rocha > Steffen Banta
- IBJJF #1 Ranked Brown Belt – NOGI (2022)
- 1st Place IBJJF World Championship (2017 blue, 2022 brown)
- 1st Place IBJJF World Championship NOGI (2017 / 2018** blue, 2022** brown)
- 1st Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2019 blue, 2022 brown)
- 1st Place IBJJF Pan Championship NOGI (2018** blue, 2022 brown)
- 1st Place IBJJF European Open NOGI (2022** brown)
- 1st Place IBJJF American Nationals (2020 purple, 2022** brown)
- 1st Place IBJJF American Nationals NOGI (2020 purple, 2022** brown)
- 2nd Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2021 brown)
- 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship NOGI (2021 brown)
- 3rd Place IBJJF Pan Championship NOGI (2021 brown)
- 3rd Place IBJJF American Nationals NOGI (2020* purple)
** Weight and Absolute
Favorite Position/Technique: Well Rounded
Weight Division: Super Pesado (100,50 kg / 222.0 lbs)
Steffen Banta Biography
Steffen Banta was born in Fort Worth, Texas, United States of America, on September 3rd, 1999, growing up in both FW and Dallas, TX.
An unusual start to competitive activities for a professional grappler, Banta’s initiation to the world of competition came as a high schooler through Lindyhop and Ballroom Dancing.
After he experienced a degree of bullying at school, Steffen’s father – a judo black belt – persuaded him to try and learn martial arts to earn self-confidence. The first combat sport practiced by Banta ended up being wrestling, which he played at the age of 16, during a semester at school. The following year he discovered jiu-jitsu, a sport with which he quickly connected.
Steffen’s first BJJ instructor was Márcio Santos of the Machado BJJ association, where he earned his blue belt. Early in his development as a grappler, Banta wanted to compete, and do it often, but it quickly became apparent to him that Mr. Santos’ gym was more focussed on hobbyists and not geared towards competition. For that reason, Banta decided to switch to a gym that shared this same mindset.
As an 18-year-old blue belt, Steffen started training at Marcus Antelante‘s gym, which was linked with team Soul Fighters at the time. It was at Antelante’s gym that Banta met João Gabriel Rocha, one of the faces of the SF pro squad.
Once Steffen became acclimatized to his new team, he found out about a black belt competition training led by João Gabriel, that was happening regularly at the Lonestar Pro Training Center. This was an Invitation-Only type workgroup and exclusive to brown and black belts, that often had many of the sport’s A-listers such as Rafael Formiga, Pedro Rocha, Manuel Ribamar, Nathiely de Jesus, Igor Paiva, and Joao Gabriel, on the mats. Despite the exclusivity of the training room, Banta showed up one day ready to train. He was refused entry at first, but after some convincing, he was allowed in the sparring session.
Although accepted byJoão Gabriel Rocha in the Lonestar Pro Training Center workgroup, according to Steffen, Rocha’s intentions were to beat him up so badly in training, that Banta wouldn’t want to return. Interestingly, the beatdowns had the reverse effect as the young Texan came back for more every single class, becoming a regular face on the mats at the LPTC.
From the time he was a blue belt, Steffen trained alongside both Rocha and Antelante. With João Gabriel in the morning time’s professional squad, and with Marcus during the nighttime with the regular class. Sadly, during the COVID-19 pandemic, back in 2020, the Soul Fighters’ management split, and the team fragmented. João Gabriel Rocha formed Double Five with Rafael Formiga, and Marcus Antelante joined the team, Ares. This left Steffen Banta in a predicament, as he trained with both coaches, but faced with the cards that had been given to him, Banta opted to follow Rocha to Double Five and later to Alliance.
Steffen Banta’s hard work was rewarded by João Gabriel on December 18, 2022, the day of Banta’s promotion to black belt, making him only the second athlete ever promoted to the rank by coach Rocha. The #1 being Pedro Henrique Rocha.