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BJJ Fanatics Instructionals
BJJ Fanatics Instructionals

Top BJJ Competitors of all Time

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Craig Jones Instructional

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 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


ROOSTER TO FEATHER 57KG -- 70KG

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. Now retired the Alliance team member was at the top of the heap for over a decade, being closely followed by the greatest roosterweight of all time, his teammate Bruno Malfacine, who is at #2.

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
#1RubensCharlesCobrinhaAlliance80
#2BrunoMalfacineAlliance77
#3RafaelMendesAtos51
#4MarioReisAlliance / GB / Behring41
#5CaioTerraCTBJJA40
#6Royler GracieGracie Humaita38
#7FredsonPaixaoOsvaldo Alves32
#8RobsonMouraRobinhoNova Uniao28
#9PauloMiyaoPSLPB / Unity JJ26
#10GuilhermeMendesAtos25
#10BibianoFernandesMestre Pina25


LIGHT TO MIDDLE 76,00KG -- 82,30KG

Marcelinho-top10

THE KING: Marcelo Garcia (Marcelinho)
Even with the latest updates to the ranking, the middleweight G.O.A.T. remains at the top of our list. Another member of that legendary Alliance team of the mid-2000s, a team with an array of representatives in our Best Of All Time Ranking (Cobrinha, Malfacine, Garcia, Lepri, Langhi, Bernardo Faria).

One of the most creative grapplers of all time, Marcelo Garcia stayed at the top of, arguably, the most stacked division in the sport for years on end; mastering and innovating a variety of techniques, including the arm drag, his famous marcelotine, north-south chokes, X-Guard, Single X and others. Truly a one of a kind type player, Marcelo helped shape the landscape of modern-day Jiu-Jitsu both in kimono category and in No-Gi.

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
#1MarceloGarciaMarcelinhoAlliance69
#2MarcioFeitosaGracie Barra63
#2LucasLepriAlliance63
#3OtavioSousaGracie Barra50
#4MichaelLanghiAlliance48
#5Fernando AugustoSilvaTerereAlliance, TT35
#5LeonardoVieiraLeozinhoCheckmat, Alliance35
#6CelsoViniciusCelsinhoRyan Gracie29
#7ClaudioCalasansJuninhoAtos27
#8VitorRibeiroShaolinNova Uniao23
#8AntonioSchembriNinoGracie Barra23
#9EduardoConceicaoJamelãoAlliance18
#10GabrielArgesGracie Barra15


MEDIUM-HEAVY TO HEAVY 88,30KG -- 94,30KG

THE KING: Leandro Lo
For years Alexandre Ribeiro dominated the Best Jiu-Jitsu Player Of All Time Ranking, this finally changed with our 2020 update, after Leandro Lo’s historic performance at the IBJJF World Championship of 2019 — gold in heavyweight, silver in open weight divisions. With this points-boost Leandro finally surpassed Xande in the top 10 list, making him one of the most accomplished jiu-jitsu athletes of all time, with an added bonus. As reported by BJJ Heroes earlier (check here), Leandro is also the record holder for Most World Titles In Different Weight Classes, an honor previously owned by Xande’s brother, Saulo Ribeiro — who held the record for 20 years.

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
#1LeandroLoNs Brotherhood85
#2AlexandreRibeiroXandeRibeiro Jiu Jitsu79
#3AndreGalvaoAtos78
#4RomuloBarralGracie Barra67
#5Saulo RibeiroRibeiro Jiu Jitsu64
#6RobertoMagalhaesRoletaGracie Barra44
#7BraulioEstimaCarcaraGracie Barra40
#8FabioGurgelGeneralAlliance38
#9RafaelLovato JrRibeiro Jiu Jitsu35
#10RodolfoVieiraBlack Belt HunterGF Team32


SUPER-HEAVY TO ULTRA-HEAVY ABOVE 94,30KG

THE KING: Marcus Almeida
Marcus Almeida keeps climbing. After surpassing Roger Gracie in the rankings back in our 2018 update, the Checkmat team juggernaut has distanced himself even further in our latest update, after winning double gold at the IBJJF World Championship as well as a silver at the 2019 ADCC.

No adjectives can quantify the greatness of Almeida’s career. 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
#1MarcusAlmeidaBuchechaCheckmat84
#2RogerGracieGracie Barra69
#3BernardoFariaAlliance54
#4MarcioCruzPé de PanoGracie Barra47
#5RafaelLovato Jr.Ribeiro JJ35
#6AntonioBraga NetoGordo JJ34
#7FabricioWerdumVai CavaloWinner-Behring28
#8RobertoToziGodoi JJ / G1327
#8RodrigoCavacaZenith27
#9Jose MarioSperryZe MaquinaBrazilian Top Team25
#10LeonardoLeiteAlliance20


POUND 4 POUND

THE KING: Leandro Lo
Lots of changes in this ranking on our latest update. As aforementioned, Leandro Lo reigns as the king in our pound-4-pound list, closely followed by his good friend Marcus Almeida. Both players still fairly active in jiu-jitsu, with a solid chance of expanding their dominance in the foreseeable future.

Once our P4P best, Xande Ribeiro is now strongly holding to the 4th place as Rubens Charles’ legendary Super Grand Slam run of 2017 boosted him to the podium 3 years ago. Interestingly, less than 10 points separate the #1 from the #6. A very close contest.

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
#1LeandroLoNs Brotherhood85
#2MarcusAlmeidaBuchechaCheckmat84
#3RubensCharlesCobrinhaAlliance80
#4AlexandreRibeiroXandeRibeiro Jiu Jitsu79
#5AndreGalvaoAtos78
#6BrunoMalfacineAlliance77
#7RogerGracieGracie Barra69
#7MarceloGarciaMarcelinhoAlliance69
#8RomuloBarralGracie Barra67
#9Saulo RibeiroRibeiro Jiu Jitsu64
#10MarcioFeitosaGracie Barra63
#10LucasLepriAlliance63
FEMALE DIVISION P4P

NOTE: When assessing the points accounted for in this exercise of the “Female P4P List” please keep in mind that for years the division ran in a mix of purple, brown and black belts, and we accounted for all medals in the division, even when the athlete was not yet at the black belt rank.

THE QUEEN: Bia Mesquita
We had alluded to Bia Mesquita’s dominance in our sport’s female division and this is exactly what we see in our rankings, with Bia holding a near 40 point lead over #5 player — Kyra Gracie. Although there have been rumors of a possible shift towards MMA, Mesquita is currently still active in the sport and could create an even bigger barrier between herself and the number 2, Michelle Nicolini.

RankFirst NameLast NameNicknameTeamTotal Points
#1BeatrizBeatrizGracie Humaita90
#2MichelleNicoliniCheckmat70
#3GabrielleGarciaAlliance67
#4LuizaMonteiroNs Brotherhood / Checkmat / PSLPB63
#5KyraGracieGracie Academy54
Honorable Mentions

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 when 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 1970s, 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 afterward 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.

High Percentage Chokes  Instructional by Lachlan Giles

176 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?

  • Hey guys, this is great list with lots of legends but I think I should be here too.. just suggestion lol

  • Chuck says:

    List is 3 years old, like to see an update

  • bjjpurp says:

    no daniel valverde are u kidding me

  • 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

  • Grilobjj says:

    What about Bruno Malfacine? Based on the scoring system, my calculations have him at 54 points?

  • Harvey Dent says:

    Leaving off the 27 times Mundials champion Renato Laranja? Blasphemy!

  • Dion says:

    Rafael Mendes Will be in the top 10 soon, he is only 24 and maybe not even in his prime.

  • Shmuel Gatoz says:

    Hannette Staack probably has close to 60 points, but I guess women don't count or something.

  • JoJitsu says:

    Wtf wheres Rickson? Where is Dean Lister? Wheres Jacare, this is a silly list.

  • Tad says:

    No Rigan or JJ Machado? Spierry? There were studs before your point system was in place…1996 Mundials started?

  • carlson gracie uk says:

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

  • Dan says:

    If you take into the account the number of times the person competed at those events Roger stands out as the clear winner.

  • Frank says:

    Helio”Soneca” Moriera should be on the list.

  • west coast dude says:

    i know this is based on achievments in bjj competitions…..but i think it is artificial without someone trying to punch your brains out so i think jacare, nogera, frank mirr, and aderson silva deserve some credit because i believe a pro cage fight is way more realistic way to test your jiu jitsu ability……….and finally the simplification of marcelo garcia's techniques makes him #1 because he actually finishes with subs…..he made the guillotine, north south, RNC , and butterfly guard wayyyyyyyybetter!……he is the best instructor at least!

  • BJJ White belt says:

    Wow, all you guys demanding people to be on the list are just stupid trolls. Why is it so hard to see why and how the list was created.

    If you don't like the list, pay for a URL yourself, make your own list and have your own successful website.

    Any negative reply or objection to my post means your stupid. (And they will still respond).

  • Victor says:

    Awesome List!! Has a pretty clear rule instead of particular opinion!!

    I saw many people complaining.. who is complaining didn't read the inicial explanation.. simple as that!!

  • AOS_Fighting says:

    how did you get 71 for xande? i did the math based on your point system and only got 68

  • I'm a new BJJ practitioner and want to learn more about the history outside just the legendary Gracie family. Where does someone like Ronaldo Souza or Robert Drysdale rank among these other competitive??

  • Felipe says:

    Why is Michelle Nicolini not on that list???

  • Mark Petrulo says:

    What about Rigan Machado?

  • Jack Jitsu says:

    This list simply shows quantity over quality. If a black belt competed 100 times as much Xande, winning all bronze medals, he would be #1, but clearly not the best of all time. The methodology is broken. Roger has a sufficiently large data set, and a higher quality track record than Xande, not to mention he has beat Xande 5 to 3. Roger > Xande due to his higher percentage of golds.

  • Mark stables says:

    I would make a case for Caio Terra and Leonardo dos santos

  • Angelo Carbone says:

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

  • jules manson says:

    Why isn't Royce Gracie listed in any of the lists?

  • ahmad says:

    Because he never took part in bjj competition.he is famous for mma fighting .

  • Dalmo says:

    Other fighters that deserve an honourable mention: Carlos Rosado, Ricardo Liborio, Ricardo De La Riva, Sergio Penha and Roller Gracie.

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