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Top 10 BJJ Competitors of all Time
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Top 10 BJJ Competitors of all Time

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Welcome to the BJJ Heroes’ Top 10 Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Competitors of All Time’ list. This is the 3rd generation of the list as we have always tried to improve on the previous sortings. On our first improvement we added a scoring system to the list in an effort to make this list as unbiased as possible. We have now decided to separate the list in 4 weight categories (and one overall):

This split was decided as most heavier weights tend to do better in the absolute divisions, also the competitiveness of the lower weight divisions is arguably not as high as some of the others. But if you are not interested in these, we also have a pound for pound best in BJJ, the open weight list.

The scoring system remains the same as before. The points are awarded per medal in the black belt division of all 4 major competitions of the sport. The two main competitions (World Championship/Mundial and ADCC) were given more relevance as they are the cream of the crop of BJJ tournaments while the other two (that arguably are just as hard as the aforementioned) are seen as lower in overall significance.

Scoring System:

Points Awarded Per Medal
Gold / 1st place Silver / 2nd place Bronze / 3rd place
Mundial 4 3 1
ADCC 4 3 1
Pan Am 3 2 1
Brasileiro 3 2 1


The Lightweights: under 70kg/154lbs
Cobrinha-top10

THE KING: Rubens Charles Maciel (Cobrinha)
At the top of the lighter weights ranking is Rubens Charles, the king of the featherweight division for 4 years straight who added another world title in 2017 at the age of 37. This Alliance team member made the De-La-Riva guard his weapon of choice during the 2000’s, being a strong influence in the evolution of the guard while having greatly evolved other aspects of the game in his approach to jiu jitsu training – this being supported by Cobrinha’s longevity in the sport and the results of his students in a competitive environment.

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
1RubensCharlesCobrinhaAlliance77
2BrunoMalfacineAlliance76
3RafaelMendesAtos51
4MarioReisAlliance, Gracie, Behring41
5CaioTerraCTBJJA40
6Royler GracieGracie Humaita38
7FredsonPaixaoOsvaldo Alves32
8RobsonMouraRobinhoNova Uniao28
9GuilhermeMendesAtos25
9BibianoFernandesMestre Pina25
10Alexandrede FreitasSocaGracie Barra18


The Middleweights: under 82kg/181lbs
Marcelinho-top10

THE KING: Marcelo Garcia (Marcelinho)
One of the most creative grapplers of all time, the Alliance Academy prodigy stayed at the top of (arguably) the most stacked division in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for years on end; mastering a variety of techniques from arm drags, to his famous marcelotine, north-south chokes, X-Guard, Single X and others. Marcelinho has helped shape the landscape of Jiu Jitsu both in kimono and in No Gi.

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
1MarceloGarciaAlliance69
2MárcioFeitosaGracie Barra63
3LucasLepriAlliance49
4MichaelLanghiAlliance41
4OtavioSousaGracie Barra41
5Fernandoda SilvaTerereAlliance35
5LeonardoVieiraLeozinhoCheckmat35
6RonaldoSouzaJacaré31
7CelsoViniciusCelsinhoRGA / Gordo JJ25
8VitorRibeiroShaolinVitor Ribeiro Shaolin BJJ23
8AntonioSchembriNinoGracie Barra23
9EduardoConceicaoJamelaoAlliance / Checkmat18
10DemianMaiaBrasa Clube16


The Heavyweights: under 94kg/207lbs

THE KING: Alexandre Ribeiro (Xande)

Alexandre Ribeiro and André Galvao have been battling for the top of the list for quite some time, though in 2018 Ribeiro’s longevity in the game finally outlasted Galvão’s #1 rank. Known for his cerebral approach to BJJ, an intellect he has used to defeat great names of the sport such as Marcelo Garcia and Roger Gracie, Xande brought excellent stand-up to the division, as well as fantastic pressure when passing the guard, and a guard that was only passed two times in his career. A complete player, it was Ribeiro’s hability to mix and match these weapons on demand that earned him the claim of Best of All Time.

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
1AlexandreRibeiroXandeRibeiro Jiu Jitsu79
2AndreGalvaoAtos78
3LeandroLoNew School Brotherhood69
4RomuloBarralGracie Barra67
5Saulo RibeiroRibeiro Jiu Jitsu64
6RobertoMagalhaesRoletaGracie Barra44
7BraulioEstimaCarcaraGracie Barra40
8FabioGurgelGeneralAlliance38
9RodolfoVieiraBlack Belt HunterGF Team37
10RafaelLovato JrRibeiro Jiu Jitsu35


The Ultra Heavyweights: over 94kg/207lbs

THE KING: Marcus Almeida
After many years reigning supreme as the heavy/ultra-heavy weight king, in 2018 Roger Gracie was finally dethroned by the magnificent Marcus Almeida, commonly known as Buchecha. A product of the Checkmat academy, Almeida had sequential double gold medals at the IBJJF World Championship since 2012, having only failed to hit the double in 2015 due to injury, and 2018 by forfeiting the last match to an injured Leandro Lo. Without a shadow of a doubt the most accomplished competitor of his generation and one of the most dominant grapplers of all time.

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
1MarcusAlmeidaBuchechaCheckmat73
2RogerGracieGracie Barra69
3BernardoFariaAlliance54
4MarcioCruzPé de PanoGracie Barra47
5AntonioBraga NetoGordo JJ34
6RodrigoMedeirosCompridoBrasa32
7FabricioWerdumVai CavaloWinner-Behring28
8RodrigoCavacaZenith27
9Jose MarioSperryZe MaquinaBrazilian Top Team25
10Joao GabrielRochaSoul Fighters23


The Best Pound for Pound Best in BJJ (Pound 4 Pound)

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
1AlexandreRibeiroXandeRibeiro Jiu Jitsu79
1AndreGalvaoAtos78
2RubensCharlesCobrinhaAlliance77
3BrunoMalfacineAlliance76
4MarcusAlmeidaBochechaCheckmat73
5LeandroLoNew School Brotherhood69
5MarceloGarciaMarcelinhoAlliance69
5RogerGracieGracie Barra69
6RomuloBarralGracie Barra67
7Saulo RibeiroRibeiro Jiu Jitsu64
8MarcioFeitosaGracie Barra63
9BernardoFariaAlliance54
10LucasLepriAlliance49
The Best Pound for Pound Female BJJ Athletes

NOTE: When assessing the points accounted for in this exercise of the “Female P4P List” please keep in mind that these were only scored when the medal was earned with at least 1 match victory. No participation medals were accounted for. Furthermore, medals were accounted for in mixed belt divisions (purple to black, or brown to black), even when the athlete was not yet at the black belt rank.

THE QUEEN: Michelle Nicolini
A revolutionary of the game, Michelle Nicolini ruled the jiu jitsu landscape for a span of nearly 10 years, competing mainly in the light featherweight division, though also venturing into other weight classes when searching for new challenges. Her guard game changed the sport, particularly her use of the chin-on-chin guard and her effective toe hold/toe hook, and although she decided to give more emphasis to her mixed martial arts (MMA) career at the hight of her grappling one, Nicolini will always be remembered as one of the greatest jiu jitsu competitors who graced the mats.

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
1MichelleNicoliniCheckmat78
2BeatrizMesquitaBiaGracie Humaita76
3LuannaAlzuguirAlliance73
4GabrielleGarciaGabiAlliance64
4LuizaMonteiroCheckmat, PSPB, Atos64
5HannetteStaackBrazil 02156
6KyraGracieGracie Barra53
7LeticiaRibeiroGracie Humaita46
8BiancaAndradeGracie Barra45
9PennyThomasGracie Humaita33
9MackenzieDernGracie Humaita33
10GezaryMatudaATT32
Honorable Mentions

Cover photo by GracieMag.com

Though this list is based only on competitive achievements, there are certain figures of BJJ that deserve their mention in the top of all time. These are Jiu Jitsu black belts who were part of an era where competition was active but records were poorly kept, and though they cannot be in an official listing of this website, they deserve the admiration of this great BJJ community by the strength of their achievements. Without any specific order, these men are:

Rickson Gracie: Often regarded as the best Jiu Jitsu fighter of all time, Rickson competed for years in hundreds of matches in several different disciplines (No Holds Barred, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Sambo, etc) with the only loss on record coming in a Sambo competition by points.

Rolls Gracie: Rolls is another member of the Gracie family that is always present as one of the top athletes of all time, he was a creator of positions and one of the first people in Jiu Jitsu to believe in cross training, bringing a lot of Judo and Wrestling techniques to help grow BJJ. He was also the family’s top competitor in the 1970’s, ending his reign undefeated.

Cássio Cardoso: A student of Carlson Gracie, Cassio only had one loss in his competitive career, a loss to Marcelo Behring (which he avenged afterwards in an epic 90 minute battle). Cassio was regarded as the best student in the Carlson Gracie gym and one of the most complete fighters that ever lived.

João Alberto Barreto: Famous for being Gracie Jiu Jitsu’s top representative in the 1950s, Joao Alberto spent his entire career without tasting the bitter flavor of defeat. He competed extensively (mainly in Vale Tudo matches) and is known to have never lost a fight.

Amauri Bitetti: the first open weight world champion, a deed he accomplished twice in his career, Amauri Bitetti was one of the top competitors of his generation, considered by most as the top man in BJJ after Rickson Gracie hung up his Jiu Jitsu gi.

148 Comments

  • Jose says:

    Honestly how do you do honorable mentions and not mention Jean Jacques Machado, all the other guys you mentioned also did not compete in major tournaments or there was poor record keeping like you said. Jean Jacques was definitely one of thos guys, he competed in like the 1st or 2nd ADCC and was the only man to win every match by submission. His contribution to nogi has been huge and to the gi as well.

  • anonymous says:

    If Bibiano Fernandes hadn't switched to MMA, he'd be on this list. He was racking up Golds at the world level when he transitioned.

  • Thadeu Vieira says:

    Take the 3rd place out of count to Xande e Saulo they tie!

  • Romulo says:

    I think I have 41 points can u guys check I did I quick think. If I’m 41 I should be on the list .i not sure .

    • bjjheroes says:

      Hey Romulo, just checked and you are right. You actually have 45 points, so I've added you to the list. The list was made over one year ago, so there might be some changes to it soon.

      Thanks for checking

  • DomDom says:

    Roger Gracie has won 10 times at the worlds!

  • jay says:

    great article, and it spurred comments, thoughts and debate. sure, I want de la riva in there but the writer was fair and did a great job. nice to be reminded of the founding fathers of bjj!

  • sebastian says:

    tambien podia estar demian maia y fernando terere

  • David says:

    10 + 3 = 13 for Roger's Mundial titles, not 5 as listed. maybe someone already commented on this, but you might want to update your table.

  • Samo says:

    War Megaton!!!!!!

  • Mike says:

    P4P I believe Marcelo is the best. Consistently outweighed in the Absolute division, he has competed at the highest level. Technique be damned. When you are competing against competitors who are equally or near equally skilled, the weight difference matters.

  • Michael says:

    It's interesting that so many people critique the list. I think it's a terrific resource that you made the list at all!

  • yolo says:

    The only way to compare an athlete is by their achievements. The only people who have problem with this method of classification are people who do not compete, and a few competitions, do not make you a competitor.

  • HEKK says:

    BUCHECHA????? Buchecha should be on here. The list cannot be complete without buchecha!!!!

  • Maziar says:

    Where are Demian maia? Ronaldo jacare Souza? Robert drysdale? Fabricio werdum? Antonio minotauro nogeuira etc. They should absolutely be high on the list

  • Maziar says:

    And I forgot vinny magelheas and braulio estima…

  • Gustavo says:

    Eu acho que o absoluto do ADCC deveria valer bem mais, já que o campeão não tem outras oportunidades de disputar. Assim Roger iria pra primeiro do ranking. Parabéns pelo trabalho, melhor e mais completa fonte de informação sobre jiu jitsu brasileiro que eu conheço. Melhor que isso só se tivesse também em português, para que os próprios brasileiros possam conhecer mais sobre a arte suave.

  • handsome man says:

    Why are guys like Helio and Carlos Gracie not here? There are suppose to be founders and are of the highest rank in the entire BJJ discipline? Don't tell me the students or the competitors are better than them?

  • Brandon Ruiz says:

    Points here should’ve been weighted more like in the top active fighters list. I dont see how Roger Gracie can be tied for #2 w 12 world titles. How is there even a question he is #1?!? Having non golds at non world championships shouldnt be able to trump that. I do enjoy your site and i enjoy the list.

    i am disappointed that there are athletes with more world titles than those on the list that are not listed here. Also why not include a list of instructors or those who’ve made contributions to the art separately? Not all competitors contribute & vice a versa.

    Love the site and hope to see more athlete bios. Thx. BR

  • carlson gracie uk says:

    Tem neguinho muito chato ai dando pitaco. Deixa o cara fazer o trabalho delw e vao treinar poooorrraaaa

  • Frank says:

    Helio”Soneca” Moriera should be on the list.

  • Angelo Carbone says:

    Could you please let me know how JJM is not on this list, thank you.

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