Recently, while listening to Josh Hinger‘s MatBurn Podcast with ADCC senior organizer Mo Jassim the subject of double gold medals at the event’s World Championship was raised. Traditionally there has been plenty of subject matter over the IBJJF World Championship double, but we have yet to see the ADCC double be addressed. So without further ado, we lay out all 8 of these special and historic names:
ZÉ MARIO SPERRY (1998)
#1 Mario Sperry (99KG)
#1 Mario Sperry (ABS)
The very first double gold medal happened in 1998, the debut year of the ADCC, with one of the original Carlson Gracie “bulldogs” taking the grand prize. “Zé Maquina” as he was labeled by Portuguese speaking fans (Ze Machine – later adapted by English speaking media to Zen Machine) will go out in history as one of the best grapplers that ever lived, beating top-level opposition in Gi, NoGi and No-Holds-Barred as well as MMA, with his grinding jiu-jitsu style that used excellent takedowns, and pressure pass
Zé went on to lead the Brazilian Top Team Academy during the hight of Pride FC rivalry between BTT and Chute-Boxe in the early to mid-2000s. A time when he split his time between fighting, coaching and managing the team.
MARK KERR (2000)
#1 Mark Kerr (+99KG)
#1 Mark Kerr (ABS)
There have been many nicknames in the world of grappling, but none has ever fit a competitor better than Kerr’s “The Smashing Machine”.
Back in a time when freestyle wrestlers still challenged grapplers in the world of submission-wrestling, Kerr was by far the most successful. A D1 NCAA champ, with good submission defense and freakishly athletic for a giant, Mark instilled fear into many of BJJs finest and will forever go down in history as one of ADCCs most distinguished open weight champs.
Mark would also follow Sperry’s lead and become a proficient MMA fighter, a pioneer at the time and a big name in NHB by the time he competed in the ADCC.
RICARDO ARONA (2001)
#1 Ricardo Arona (99KG)
#1 Ricardo Arona (ABS)
Another one of the ADCC GOATs, we consistently reference the “Brazilian Tiger” when referencing this historic tournament, but we truly believe he was one of the best to ever do it.
Arguably not the most exciting competitor to watch at times, Arona brought incredible athleticism and a tactical approach to the game, with which he remained undefeated during his 3 tournament runs. More impressively, he was never scored against in ADCC’s proving ground.
Endless cardio and lightning-fast takedowns had Arona as a fan favorite, later going on to work under Sperry as a mixed martial artist. In MMA he had many memorable matches, including against Fedor Emelianenko, Kazushi Sakuraba, Alistair Overeem, and Murilo “Ninja” Rua.
ROGER GRACIE (2005)
#1 Roger Gracie (99KG)
#1 Roger Gracie (ABS)
Overall Roger Gracie is regarded as the #1 jiu-jitsu athlete of all time, particularly with the gi. His tenure with the ADCC was short-lived as he only entered 2 tournaments, 1 in his black belt debut year (2003), where he lost to the champ (Olav Einemo) and a second try in 2005 where he demolished everyone. The first and only time someone submitted every single one of his opponents, 8 in total. The most impressive ADCC run of all time. That year Gracie subbed Ronaldo Jacaré, Xande Ribeiro (2x), Fabricio Verdum, Alexandre Cacareco and more. No superlatives would be enough to quantify Roger’s achievement that day.
JULIANA BORGES (2005)
#1 Juliana Borges (+60KG)
#1 Juliana Borges (ABS)
Another historic figure of the ADCC was Juliana Borges, a black belt under Fernando Boi from the Goiás region of Brazil. Unfortunately for our sport, Borges married and built her family outside of the sport’s circuit and we have not heard from her in a very long time. When in her prime, Juliana conquered IBJJF World and Brazilian National titles, combining her strong judo background with a lot of athleticism and grappling skill.
HANNETTE STAACK (2007)
#1 Hannette Staack (+60KG)
#1 Hannette Staack (ABS)
Hannette Staack was one of the most accomplished grapplers in the history of the sport, with a multitude of world titles with the ADCC and IBJJF promotions. One of her most meaningful moments was without a doubt the 2007 double in New Jersey, an open-weight medal that would be the last for the female division in this organization.
Outside the competitive arena, Staack went on to lead, together with André Terêncio, the Brazil 021 team out of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and Chicago, IL. From that team, Hannette build important competitors such as Kristin Mikkelson and Kristen Martin
BRAULIO ESTIMA (2009)
#1 Braulio Estima (88KG)
#1 Braulio Estima (ABS)
A testament to the importance of wrestling is in the ADCC is the fact that Braulio Estima was the only true guard player to have ever conquered the double, which is also a testament to how good Estima’s guard truly was.
After an incredible run in 2007, when Braulio reached the final of the absolute with all submissions, losing to Xande Ribeiro in the final, Estima returned stronger than ever in 2009 to conquer the double with 6 submissions out of 8 matches. Braulio went on to become a successful BJJ gym owner in Birmingham, UK and create – together with his brother Vitor, one of the most utilized foot locks in modern time, the Estima lock.
ANDRÉ GALVÃO (2011)
#1 André Galvão (88KG)
#1 André Galvão (ABS)
The last double gold medal to take place under the ADCC set was none other than André Galvão, one of the most well-rounded competitors the sport has ever seen. With flawless strategy, but without being overly committed to the blueprint, Galvão was able to game plan perfectly and be exciting at the same time.
Alongside his countless achievements on the mats, Galvão also built a career as an instructor, where he became one of the most sought out coaches in the grappling world.