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Todd Margolis

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Todd Margolis is a jiu-jitsu black belt under Pedro Sauer, founder of the Potomac MMA Academy, who worked extensively with Lloyd Irvin and Mário Yamasaki. During the early 2000s, Margolis was widely regarded as one of the top grapplers in the world, a reputation earned after he beat big names of the sport such as Marc Laimon, Pablo Popovich, Rafael Lovato Jr., Kenny Florian, Ricky Migliarese, Shawn Williams, and medaled in the ADCC US Trials. Todd Margolis was also the first American athlete to reach the final of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation’s (IBJJF) Pan American Championships at the adult black belt level, and the first US athlete to conquer a medal in the tournament’s open weight division (adult BB).

Todd Margolis Jiu-Jitsu

Full Name: Todd M. Margolis

Nickname: N/A

Lineage:  Carlos Gracie > Helio Gracie > Rickson Gracie > Pedro Sauer > Todd Margolis

Main Achievements:

  • 1st Place Jitstyle Colombian Nationals (2016*)
  • 2nd Place ADCC US Trials (2002)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2003)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2004*)

Main Achievements (Masters):

  • 1st Place IBJJF Pan Championship NOGI (2019)

Main Achievements (Colored Belts):

  • 1st Place Gracie World Championship (2001 purple, 2002 brown)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF Pan Championship (2001 purple)

* Absolute
** Weight And Absolute

Favorite Position/Technique: Knee-Cut Guard Pass / “Margolis Shrimp”

Weight Division: Meio Pesado (88,30 kg / 195.0 lbs)

Team/Association: Potomac MMA / Lloyd Irvin

Todd Margolis Biography

Todd Margolis was born on May 2, 1976, in La Plata, Maryland, growing up in Port Tobacco, MD, a small town in Southern Maryland, about an hour south of Washington DC.

During high school Todd picked up wrestling as a school sport, an activity he started at the age of 12. Margolis quickly excelled on the mats and became Maryland State High School’s Wrestling Champion in 1994, a year after he had placed 3rd (1993).

After finishing high school Todd did not pursue a sporting lifestyle, nevertheless, once he heard of jiu-jitsu from a friend of the family (Chris Doyle), he was intrigued and decided to give it a try. He was 21 years old when he entered Mario Yamasaki’s gym for the first time.

Although he was not inclined to compete when he joined the classroom, after watching his first tournament, Margolis decided he wanted in on the action. He soon fought in his first tournament and quickly gained notoriety in the local scene.

Three months into training, Todd was promoted to blue belt (1998). His excellent form also earned him an invite from coach Mario for a teaching vacancy at Yamasaki’s gym, which he accepted. Within a little over 2 years since the start of his training, Margolis was promoted to purple belt. It was during his time competing in this rank that Todd became the first American to beat a Gracie family member (Igor Gracie), at the IBJJF Pan Championship of 2001.

Todd continued to train under Yamasaki while keeping a close relationship with Lloyd Irvin – someone Margolis had trained with, regularly, since 1999. As a brown belt, however, Margolis and his teammate Mike Moses decided to split from Mario’s club. Moses had trained previously with Pedro Sauer and re-joined with the famous Gracie student’s team. Todd also joined Sauer, earning his black belt there. From white to black belt, Margolis took solely 5 and a ½ years of training.

In his first year competing in the upper echelon of the sport, Todd Margolis made it to the final of the IBJJF Pan Championship, then becoming the first American black belt to reach the final of the prestigious event (2003), he would medal again the next year, this time in the absolute division, being the first USA athlete to do so as well.

Although destined for great things in the sport, Todd injured his spine in 2005, suffering from two herniated two disks. This injury removed the Maryland native from competition for the better part of 12 years, a time during which Margolis opted to follow the path of coaching. In 2008 Margolis opened BJJ Medellin, in Medellin, Colombia. Two years later, Todd moved back to the US, leaving his student (and first black belt) Damian Martinez in charge of the team. Todd opened Potomac MMA in September of 2018.

In 2019, Margolis returned to competition, making his official return to a big stage at the Masters’ division of the Pan American Championship (No-Gi).

Todd Margolis Colombian Nationals


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