The Brazilian jiu jitsu calendar is divided in two seasons, the gi season – which lasts from January until June, and the no gi season, from June to December.
Make no mistake, there are plenty of gi tournaments to attend in the no gi season, and vice versa, but the main tournaments in each facet of sport jiu jitsu take place during these periods.
Due to this 6 month divide in the calendar, instructors tend to grade their students at the end of each season, this happens so their athletes can finish strong in their speciality – collecting a good resume, while also allowing them 6 months experience as black belts before entering entering the “Grand Slam” of jiu jitsu.
As we have just witnessed the closing of the 2015 gi season, the numbers of black belts have raised significantly over the past 6 weeks. As such we have compiled a short list of the top 5 new black belts who (in our humble opinion) are most likely to stir things up in their respective divisions in the immediate future.
5. Victor Honório
Honório turned a few heads his way after his tremendous campaign at the Copa Podio Heavyweight GP this year, having reached the final. Before that he had won the Rio Open and placed second in the Brazilian National teams tournament (black and brown mixed division).
Although Victor didn’t medal at this year’s World Championship, he incredibly talented and is surrounded by the best training partners a heavyweight could ask for at GF Team. There is plenty of room to grow and mature in the near future.
The Alliance prodigy is set to cause a dent in the black belt division of the sport. A student of the illustrious “Mestre Dan”, a coach that has produced high end talent such as Sérgio Moraes and Dimitrius Souza out of his Cohab academy. Guilherme is not one of the most mediatic jiu jitsu figures, but even though he has not made the headlines for any of the top BJJ media outlets, this medium heavyweight has won back to back Brazilian national titles while placing second at the open weight division of the world championship, and 3rd spot in his weight this year.
One of the most exciting new prospects from Cicero Costha‘s academy, Yago became famous for his wars against Dillon Danis at brown belt. Yago has finally reached his black belt, stacking up even higher one of the toughest divisions in the sport.
Yago has a fluid and highly versatile style of grappling, which makes him a dangerous man passing and playing from the bottom.
2. Edwin Najmi
Gracie Barra‘s Edwin Najmi is one of the most talked about American talents in recent years. A classic guard player with a natural taste for the triangle choke finish, Najmi is expected to achieve greatness at black belt.
In 2015, before earning his black belt, Edwin won the 3 top tournaments in the IBJJF callendar (European Open, Pan Ams and Worlds), he also ventured into the Copa Pódio, winning decisively over a very apt black belt in Alex Cabanes. Although Edwin Najmi is entering a figurative pool of sharks, that is the sport’s lightweight division, his talent should see him pass through this hostile environment in flying colors.
1. Mikey Musumeci
The younger brother of Tammi Musumeci has taken the world by storm. Just two years ago, the American Mikey Musumeci was competing at juvenile blue belt, now this berimbolo wizard is competing (and winning) against the best of the best in the sport of jiu jitsu.
In his first tournament at black belt Musumeci won the American Nationals, defeating the heavy favorite Joao Miyao in the final, setting up the tone for what looks to be a bright future ahead.
Michael Musumeci has won the World Championships consecutively since he was 15 years old, he is set to quickly become one of the biggest stars in the light featherweight division and one of the very few athletes who can pose a threat to the Miyao Brothers since the retirement of Guilherme Mendes.