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Top 10 BJJ Competitors of all Time

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Bernardo Faria BJJ Foundations

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.

Submission Back Attacks Instructional by John Danaher

176 Comments

  • Jay Jackson says:

    OMG, Eddie Bravo isnt on the list?!?!?!?!?!?!?!

    But I hear he is revolutionizing BJJ!!

    Oh wait… he hasnt one anything, LOL, my bad, you actually have to win stuff as a black belt to make this elite list. Sorry.

    • nate says:

      “One” anything! Bwhahahahahahahahahahahahahaha. He beat royler, and what he is evolving is the no gi game. Just look at how many people are using rubber guard in not only nogi but mma

      • lazio says:

        @ nate eddie wont agree to a superfight with royler again. people like caio terra call out eddie but hes to scared. he hasnt created any champions he hasnt one anything

        • Justin says:

          Eddie Bravo never make any champions? Ever hear of Vinny Magalhaes or Denny Prokopos? Not to mention that 10th planet has won the Gracie nationals as a team back to back years. And that’s submission only. Not saying he belongs on this list but I think the guy deserves a little fuckin respect. He does so much for the sport. What the fuck have you done to advance the sport?

      • seth says:

        also @ Nate: This a list of people who have won medals, not a list of people who have built a career on winning one match and then hastily exiting (by complete domination from Leo Vieira) the tournament the next round. Comments like yours belong on youtube…. Perhaps attached to some submissions 101 video.

    • roy says:

      I can’t velibe that Eddie its not there 10 planet for life

  • John says:

    Comprido Medeiros should be in the list.. 2x Absolute World Champion and winner of some other big tournaments, he is one of the best in history

  • brandon mcgourty says:

    What about Jacare????

  • noah says:

    wtf wheres jacare!!!

  • Sean says:

    I'll agree with most of the talent up there, the one main thing I'd change is having Marcelo Garcia up higher because he is an absolute monster!!

  • AAA says:

    Where is jacare…?? He've ever beat roger up before.

  • Rissa says:

    Theere are so many great guys, it hard to say who the top 10. But I have to say, glad to see that my coach is number 2. 🙂
    http://www.robsonmoura.com

  • Truth says:

    By your own criteria Saulo should be ahead of Roleta. Looks like you gave it to Roleta for having more Pan titles, which is silly considering Saulo has more Mundial Gold, as well as No Gi and ADCC Gold.

  • Westin Lee says:

    What about RICKSON Gracie? I know wasn’t much tourneys in his time but I gaurentee he would smash all of these competitors!!!

  • Calkid21 says:

    What the best grappler in 2010 Joao Assis should definantlt.be on the list

  • Me says:

    List needs to be more scientific. It seems like a child is just voting for his personal favorite superheroes – the only thing that seems to count are the heroes of the author’s time period. Not an unbiased list in the slightest. This list is dripping with personal opinions and bias.

    What about Rolls, Rickson, and Carlson?

  • James Abbington says:

    Where's Jean-Jacques Machado on this list?!

  • jay says:

    where is Andre Galvao and Pablo Popovitch ?

  • mikhail says:

    I think that the admin is correct in his approach in trying to come up with a fair and unbias list of fighters, however I think that the real dispute about the list is what to do about people who came up in a era where there where few if any tournements to fight in. Guys like rickson, de la riva, rolls would then have a home on this list and the matter would be settled. So, I purpose that a list of the greatest bjj fighters of all time be compose of tournement win but also impact of the bjj community. For instant, de la riva and the guard he created is now standard bjj practise no matter which academy you train in. Now I'm not saying that de la riva should apart of this list, but with the combine thinking of tournement success and impact to the bjj community this list would be more accurate about the greatest bjj fighters of all time.

  • slideyfoot says:

    Perhaps if the admin changed that disclaimer at the top to a huge font and it started flashing, more people would actually bother reading it before commenting. 😉

    Good list, as it uses an objective criteria (though I guess I'm a little biased, as Roger is the guy who gave me my purple belt). As others have mentioned, it might be worth changing the title to "Top 10 BJJ Competitors of All Time", but I can understand that 'Fighters' sounds better.

  • Adam says:

    you're (the admin) is saying this list is the "Top 10 Most Accomplished Major Tournament BJJ Practitioner" so why did you title it "Top 10 BJJ Fighters of all Time"? THE TITLE is misinterpreted. 1) Marcelo Gracie 2) Rickson Gracie 3) Roger Gracie. That's the real order…

  • The voice of reason says:

    rofl at Jacare not being on this list.. this list although subjective is clearly faulty.. this is how the admin shitted this out:

    add up championships (mind you regardless of ranking), have no regard for era (2011 BJJ is clearly deeper and more competitive than 1990 BJJ) and theres your top 10 hahaha..

    thats like disregarding Jim Brown's accomplishments at running back because he retired in his prime; Jacare has beaten Roger and Marcelo and is clearly top five all time

    • bjjheroes says:

      Wow, the voice of reason has spoken! So according to you we should chose Jim Brown for the top 10 of all time… You are right, how did I miss that? I apologise, I will update the list ASAP.

      • The voice of reason says:

        lol i love how you addressed the football aspect of my post but have no response (there is none really) to my critique of your ranking

        and if you knew about football, its clear that Jim Brown is top 3 all time at running back.. skill is skill regardless of how many years you play.. your rankings give absolutely zero weight to level of competition faced and the sport's progression in terms of talent field

        /thread

        • bjjheroes says:

          Voice, I am not american, football for me is played with the feet (thus the name foot-ball) and the greatest player that ever lived was Pelé. I had no idea who Jim Brown was (and I still dont).

          As for Jacaré, it is pretty easy to reply, and I expected even you to understand that according to the rules of the article, titles win you a spot there, facts without favoritism. Jacaré was an outstanding fighter, but he changed to MMA to soon and did not win enough in BJJ to be in the list, I think that is pretty clear. He might have wins against Roger (though Roger also has wins over Jacare) and Marcelinho (who is lighter then him) but when it comes to tournaments, as a black belt, both Marcelo and Roger have more titles then him, and that is that!

          Also, saying that BJJ now is more competitive then in the 1990s is absolutely crazy! just because you started looking at BJJ for the last 5 years doesnt mean this is all that happened. Maybe you need to start reading some of the other articles posted on this website and get in touch with the history of the sport… Dont mean to be rude, but people like you seem to think they know it all and that pisses me off.

          By the way, this is just an article on the subject, there is alot more articles out there, each with their format. I dont know how you would do one, but if you think you could do it better, go for it!

          • sergio says:

            eheheheheheheh……primooooo, amazed, and by the way great professionalism.

          • Sabugo - CG Portugal says:

            A true master in keeping his cool when people fail to read the clear and simple criteria of this list.

            André deserves a medal himself for putting up with all the rude and unfair complaints about his work regarding this list.

            Work that he does for free so that we can all enjoy.

  • Davi says:

    Perfect!
    Roger, Saulo, Marcelinho, Xande, Roleta and Pe de pano. All the greatest are on the list.
    I believe pretty soon we will be seeing Rodolfo Vieira and Rafael Mendes on this list.

  • Bartinho says:

    Modern BJJ fighters are favored on this list because the sport is much bigger and more competitve than in the past. Rickson, Rigan, Gurgel are conspicuously missing but thats to be expected. Roger Gracie's achievements in this day and age are nothing short of phenomenal !

  • Debo says:

    I think you meant "taking into account" (the competitive achievements) and not "talking into account."

  • Monstrinho says:

    PORRA!

    How did Robson Moura go from #3 last time to not even on there now? More Mundials wins then most these guys!

    • bjjheroes says:

      Hahaha Porra Monstrinho, nao tem como errar, é por pontuacao! Embora eu goste muito do Jiu Jitsu do Robinho (um dos meus favoritos), na lista anterior eu so marquei a pontuacao dos primeiros lugares e nao contei com o Brasileiro, essa lista eu acho mais completa e mais justa. Pois um 2nd lugar tambem é importante!

  • people says:

    Excellent list, i like the objectiveness and transparency in the voting criteria. Good job.

  • jpcg says:

    How many pooints does Comprido Medeiros had? I think he is one of the bjj players with most titles… 7x World Champion (2 time absolute)

  • leftnut says:

    i cant believe rigan machado's name hasn't even been mentioned. 396 wins in a row. black belt at 17. pretty good resume.

  • fatjitsu says:

    For Roger's points he as well as other participated in super fights in ADCC because he won the absolute in the previous tournament. So it looks as if he only participated in 3 ADCCs when he received the ultimate honor of fighting in the super fight. I do not think you system takes that into account.

    • bjjheroes says:

      This is a good point, however I did not account for superfights, only the major tournaments… The same happened to Ze Mario Sperry who was won 3 ADCC superfights and did not have any points for it (thus staying away from the list).

  • Steve says:

    I just wanted to mention or update your numbers because I believe that Marcio Cruz has more medals than he is being credited with. I believe that you have missed his gold and silver at the Pans in 2002. Not your fault however, because he went by his Brazilian Portuguese name back then Marcio Ribeiro (da Cruz). And, interestingly enough – he gave the gold to his team mate Fabio Leopoldo in the Absolute. Here's the link and the clips.
    http://www.ibjjf.org/results/2002panamericano.htm

    SUPER-PESADO
    1-Alexandre Dantas
    Gracia Barra
    2-Rodrigo Medeiros
    Alliance
    3-Roberto Tozi
    Godoi JJ Club
    3-Roberto Godoi
    Godoi JJ Club
    PESADISSIMO
    1-Marcio Ribeiro
    Graacie Barra
    2-Alex Paz
    Silveira Brothers
    3-Garth Taylor
    Claudio Franca
    3-Carlos Santos
    Silveira Brothers
    ABSOLUTO
    1-Fabio Leopoldo
    Gracie Barra
    2-Marcio Ribeiro
    Gracie Barra
    3-Eduardo Telles
    Alliance
    3-Alexandre Ribeiro
    SR JJ

    Thanks for your consideration and we hope this didn't cause too many problems!

  • ajasj says:

    uh Carlson Gracie duh

  • BrazilianJJ says:

    Where is the name of the Grand Master Pedro Hemeterio? 9° degree, red belt and unfeat like Joao Alberto Barreto, and the first black belt under Helio and Carlos Gracie.. a brazilian legend!
    Oss

  • Hugo Pereira says:

    ^Does a Gold in Absolute division , worth as many points as a category gold ?????

  • Bruz says:

    Cobrinha has a bronze in the pan ams absolute division. I think it was 2009?

  • Dipesh Halai says:

    good list, but its probably better to adjust the title (to something like top 10 bjj medalist and maybe adding a coupla more comps to the already 4) cos of all time is a bit misleading given that many if not all of those comps havent been around since the formation bjj and like people have pointed out they think certain grapplers are missing. i think to avoid the confusion its probably better to change the title of this list and come with another "of all time list" where your using another criterion over comp medals.

  • sweep says:

    Maia?

  • It says Rickson lost his one Sambo match by points. This is incorrect. He lost by "Total Victory", which is the Sambo equivalent of Ippon.

    • FactChecker says:

      Absolutely correct and is much harder to get than Ippon. You have to throw somoeone hard onto their back and remain standing.

  • james says:

    what happened to Robson ??? 7x world champ should be on that list ….

  • Hugo Pereira says:

    Sorry , but putting Roger Gracie in 4th place … 9 gold medals in worlds… 3 of them absolute gold medals… never been submitted since he was blue belt… a category gold medal shouldn´t count the same as an absolute gold medal… Roger Gracie in 4th position… you must be joking

  • Pj Ste Marie says:

    i like the list, where do Caio Terra's points equal… i see him cracking the top ten eventually

  • RudeBoyjj says:

    Just wondering how often you update the rankings?
    Marcio Cruz is a six-time BJJ World Champion with 1 Silver and 3 Bronze. Five-time BJJ Jiu-Jitsu National Champion, eight-time BJJ Pan-Am Champion. I think this should put Pe somewhere between Roger & Feitosa.

  • Chessjitz says:

    What's going on with not having Bruno Malfacine on this list? Dude's won like what? 6 mundials? More importantly how about Renato Laranja? 27 time Mundial champion, that puts him at best EVER.

  • Leo says:

    The list reflects well the criteria established. I could list hundreds of unforgettable names, but when it comes to competitive BJJ those guys take the crown. Great stuff. Congratulations.

  • Ryan says:

    So in other words whoever competes the most is the best? There could be a fighter that gets bronze every single year for 30 years and he's better than everybody who kept beating him?

  • Ryan says:

    Marcelo Garcia > Everybody on this list.

  • Luke says:

    i Agree with Ryan, The Riberios ,might have more total medals, but i think p4p (if that exists in BJJ, it should it was kinda the idea that founded BJJ) Garcia is #1, he has more Mundial and ADCC victories, which should be th highest scored, and also he has fought in the harder division (IMO) also it would be interesting to calculate the submission win% into the final result, not just the medal tally, which i think Garcia would also be on the top of. Anyway good list!

  • valeri says:

    this is not serious without TERERE..he was pound for pound the best in the world in the golden era of BJJ..

  • Josh says:

    By the math shouldn't Robson Moura make the list?

  • Mark says:

    I thought Relson won 22 years consecutive.

  • kazab72 says:

    Dont you think you should get points for winning the pro cup ?

  • Jeff Luk says:

    Regarding Marcio Feitosa's 2 Gold at Pans….he was beat by Bob Bass. Perhaps one of those golds should be a silver? Someone correct me if I am mistaken please.
    Thanks

  • mustafa says:

    this article is title the top fighters not instructors, martial arts practitioner, or someone you think is good enough to be on this list, these people have fought for it and earned the title, and a record of their fight results is what determines their position.

  • Joseph Keeler says:

    Romulo Barral should be on that list!!

  • cooley209 says:

    Top 10 BJJ Competitors would have been a more accurate title….