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List of Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners

This is a list of notable Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners.

Highest gradedEdit

The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ranking system awards practitioners different colored belts for increasing levels of knowledge and skill.[1][2] The system shares its origins with Judo but now has its own character that has become synonymous with the art, including an informality in promotional criteria and a conservative approach to promotion in general generally resulting in a longer time to reach black belt. While black belt is commonly viewed as the highest rank of attainment, a practitioner who achieves the rank of 7th degree in Brazilian jiu-jitsu is recognized by a belt of alternating red-and-black. In 2013, the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation adopted the alternating red-and-white belt to acknowledge the achievement of 8th degree. (similar to Judo's substitution of an alternating white-and-red belt at the 6th, 7th, and 8th degree).[3] At the 9th and 10th degree the practitioner is awarded a solid red belt, identical to Judo.[3] These exceptional belts are awarded to denote the exceptional status of their wearer and his or her knowledge and overall contribution to the art.[2]

The following individuals are particularly notable practitioners holding these respective ranks:

7th degree (7º grau)Edit

  • Royce Gracie – Son of Hélio Gracie, UFC Hall of Famer.[4]
  • Renzo Gracie – He is the son of Robson Gracie, grandson of Carlos Gracie, nephew of Carlos Gracie, Jr. grandnephew of Helio Gracie, and the 1st cousin once removed of Royce Gracie.
  • Rolker Gracie – a prominent member of the Gracie family and the fourth son of Helio Gracie. Along with his younger brother Royler Gracie he is associated with the Gracie Humaitá jiu-jitsu school.[5]
  • Royler Gracie – Son of Helio Gracie who headed the Gracie Humaitá jiu-jitsu school in Rio de Janeiro. Won multiple Mundial (World), Pan-American, and ADCC championships.[6][7]
  • Carlos "Caique" Elias – One of only a handful of non-Gracies to receive a black belt directly from Hélio Gracie. Received his red-and-black belt from Rickson Gracie in March 2009. Former instructor at the original Gracie Humaitá and then at the Gracie Academy in California. Founder of the Caique Jiu Jitsu network of schools.
  • Sérgio Penha – Known for a match against Rickson Gracie, bypassed brown belt on his way to achieving black belt[8]
  • Sergio “Malibu” Jardim – Earned his coral belt by the hands of Rickson Gracie in 2011[9]
  • Jean Jacques Machado – Captured every major title and competition award in Brazil, has appeared in several TV shows and movies[10][11][12]
  • Fábio Santos (fighter) – Trained at Rolls Gracie Academy. Received Black Belt from Rickson Gracie and received Red and Black from Relson Gracie.[13]
  • Luiz Fux – Current minister of the Supreme Federal Court.
  • Aloisio Silva – Black belt under Carlos Gracie founder of Dojo jiu-jitsu and Aloisio Silva BJJ. One of the first Jiu-Jitsu masters to teach women and was the first Jiu-jitsu professor to make a female jiu-jitsu black belt world champion[14]
  • Fabricio Martins Costa – Black belt under Osvaldo Alves Head Instructor: Equipe – Fabricio JJ and Team Fabricio JJ ( Copacabana Brazil ). Awarded his coral-belt by Osvaldo Alves in 2012.[15]
  • Carlos Valente – Began training at 8 years old under Rolls Gracie. Received his black belt from Rickson Gracie and was awarded 7th degree from Robson Gracie in 2011.[16][17]
  • Charles Gracie - Son of Robson Gracie and founder of Charles Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
  • Jorge Pereira - is a Brazilian Gracie jiu jitsu coral belt (7th degree) who earned his black belt training under Rickson Gracie (1986). Jorge was also a well known figure within the vale-tudo (no-holds-barred) circuit during the 1990s.
  • Ricardo De La Riva - Founder of the De La Riva guard.
  • Murilo Bustamante - Retired mixed martial artist and former UFC Middleweight Champion. He is one of the founders of the Brazilian Top Team and is the current leader.
  • Nelson Monteiro - Helped establish Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in San Diego, CA, where he was the private instructor of Sheik Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nayan[18] before moving to Abu Dhabi to establish the ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship[19]. Awarded his 7th degree from Carlos Gracie, Jr. on October 6th, 2019.
  • Carlos “Bagana” Lima - Black belt under Carlson Gracie Senior and founder of Irmandade Jiu-Jitsu received his 7th degree in 2018 from Master Robson Gracie.

8th degree (8º grau) Edit

  • Arthur Virgílio Neto – Elected mayor of Manaus and former Federal Senator.[20]
  • Carlos Gracie, Jr. – Founder of the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation, the Confederation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Founder of the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Academy, Gracie Barra.[21]
  • Carlos Machado – World masters champion who assisted Chuck Norris in his show Walker, Texas Ranger, choreographing fight scenes with Brazilian jiu-jitsu[22]
  • Derval Luciano Rêgo (Mestre Morcego) – Founder of the FJJ-PE (Federação de Jiu-Jitsu do Estado de Pernambuco) and co-founder of the CBJJ/IBJJF. Black belt under the lineage of Oswaldo Fadda and Jacê Paulino de Albuquerque. Known for a draw match against the legendary Rolls Gracie at the end of the sixties in Rio de Janeiro.[23]
  • Joe Moreira – Pioneer of Brazilian jiu-jitsu within the United States[24]
  • Marcus Soares – Black belt under Carlson Gracie, and founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in Canada.[25]
  • Romero "Jacare" Cavalcanti – Founder and head coach of Alliance Jiu Jitsu team, one of only 6 people promoted to black belt by Rolls Gracie.
  • Mauricio Motta Gomes – One of only six Rolls Gracie black belts and father of multiple World Champion Roger Gracie.[26]
  • Luiz Palhares - Helio and Rickson Gracie black belt. Founder and head coach at Jacksonville Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.
  • Pedro Sauer – Helio and Rickson Gracie black belt. US military and law enforcement trainer, once voted "Best of the Best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Instructors"[27]
  • Ricardo Murgel – Black belt 8th degree under grandmaster Flavio Behring.
  • Márcio Stambowsky – "Macarrão" began training at age 15 under Rolls Gracie, becoming one of the Famous Five to earn a black belt under his tutelage.[28]
  • Rigan Machado – Credited with 365 wins and 2 losses in Brazilian jiu-jitsu competition[29]
  • Sylvio Behring - Son of Flavio Behring, father of Ian Behring. Founder/developer of the "Sistema Progressivo de Jiu Jitsu" (Progressive System), a teaching tool to help develop the foundations of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and self-defense for students of all levels.[30] Among notable students is Fabrício Werdum, to whom Mestre Behring awarded a black belt.
  • Moises Muradi[31]- Founder of Lotus Club Jiu Jitsu
  • Rilion Gracie[32] - Son of Carlos Gracie

9th degree (9º grau) Edit

  • Ken Gabrielson - One of the first american black belts
  • Pedro Hemeterio – The first student under master Helio Gracie to achieve the red belt, represented the Gracie Academy in many challenges and taught jiu-jitsu in São Paulo State for more than three decades.[33]
  • João Alberto Barreto – A Grand Master and one of the most important figures in the BJJ community. A red belt under Helio Gracie, he is famed for his unbeaten competitive record in the 1950s. He is the brother of GM Alvaro Barreto and GM Sergio Barreto.[34]
  • Alvaro Barreto – Grand Master Alvaro Barreto is a Brazilian jiu jitsu red belt (9th degree) and one of the most important men in BJJ, being also the brother of GM João Alberto Barreto and GM Sergio Barreto.[35]
  • Flavio Behring – head coach of Behring Jiu-Jitsu Association, Flavio teaches seminars over the world and hold affiliated academies in Europe.[36]
  • Carlson Gracie – Son of Carlos Gracie, trainer of UFC fighters, with a very successful professional fight career.[37]
  • Carley Gracie – Son of Carlos Gracie and former Jiu-Jitsu and Vale Tudo Champion.
  • Geny Rebello – Grandmaster given a commemorative tournament by the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro[38]
  • Armando Wridt – Undefeated vale-tudo fighter who is one of only 7 people to receive a red belt from Hélio Gracie[39]
  • Oswaldo Fadda – Perhaps the only individual coming from a non-Gracie lineage to earn a red belt, the Fadda academy was instrumental in bringing Brazilian jiu-jitsu to the poorer areas of Brazil.[40][41]
  • Pedro Valente Sr. – A famous plastic surgeon and close friend of Hélio Gracie since 1953. In younger years took up arms to defend the former governor of the state of Rio, Leonel Brizola.[42][43]
  • Wilson Mattos – Perhaps the oldest student of Oswaldo Fadda.[41]
  • Luis Carlos Guedes de Castro – Another black belt under Oswaldo Fadda. Among many accomplishments as a teacher and competitor, Guedes disarmed a gangster in a crowded Rio de Janeiro train who was robbing the occupants with a pistol.[44]
  • Francisco Mansor – One of only six people to be granted a professor's diploma by Hélio Gracie. Founder of Kioto Academy.[45]
  • Rorion Gracie – One of the founders of the UFC who was instrumental in bringing No-Holds Barred Fighting to North America.[46]
  • Osvaldo Alves – Studied under Carlos Gracie and is the current IBJJF Technical Director and also a 2-time Pan-American Judo champion.
  • Relson Gracie – Son of Helio Gracie and Brazilian national champion for an unprecedented 22 years. Founder of Relson Gracie gyms.[47]
  • Carlos Antonio Rosado – Carlson Gracie Sr. only red belt student; the highest ranking member of Carlson Gracie's academy.[48]
  • Renato Paquet – A grandmaster who had a judo black belt and two boxing titles in addition to his red belt.[49]
  • Francisco Sá (Sazinho) - Known for his morals and honor in martial arts and in particular our Jiu-Jitsu, he died in 2013 at age 77.[50]
  • Robson Gracie (also known as Carlos Robson Gracie) – President of the Jiu-Jitsu Federation of Rio de Janeiro.[51]
  • Reyson Gracie is the third son of Gracie jiu jitsu founder, Carlos Gracie who became a 9th degree red belt in the family’s martial art. Reyson is regarded as the founder of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the state of Amazonas, a state that became one of the most important hives in Brazil and the world for jiu jitsu. He has also had a big impact in the development of jiu jitsu in the state of Bahia.[52]
  • Rickson Gracie – The son of Hélio Gracie with an undefeated MMA career. Received his red belt July 6, 2017 from Rorion Gracie.[53][54]

10th degree (10º grau)Edit

The 10th degree red belt was given only to the pioneers of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, the Gracie brothers. There are no living 10th degree red belts: [1]

  • Carlos Gracie - (Brazil, 1902–94) was taught judo by Otávio Mitsuyo Maeda, a Japanese emigrant to Brazil who was then a 4th dan Kodokan judoka. Carlos then passed the teachings on to his brothers Oswaldo, Gastão Jr., Jorge, and Hélio. In 1925, the brothers opened their first academy in Brazil, marking the beginning of Brazilian jiu-jitsu.[55]
  • Gastão Gracie
  • Jorge (George) Gracie
  • Hélio Gracie - (Brazil, 1913–2009) was a Brazilian martial artist who, together with his brother Carlos Gracie, founded the martial art of Gracie jiu-jitsu, known internationally as Brazilian jiu-jitsu (BJJ). Until his death, Gracie was the only living 10th degree master of that system, and is widely considered as one of the first sports heroes in Brazilian history.[56]
  • Oswaldo Gracie
  • Luiz França Filho

Notable competitorsEdit

  • Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu – ADCC Open Weight Champion, World No Gi Champion (x2), Pan-American Champion (x3), Grapplers Quest Open Class Champion (x7), Copa America Open Class Champion (x4), Brazilian National Champion, World Championship Medalist (x12)[57]
  • Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida - World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x14), ADCC Champion and Pan-American Champion[58]
  • Keenan Cornelius – First ever to accomplish a "grand slam" in IBJJF history, having won double gold medals at four major tournaments at his belt rank.[59]
  • Wellington "Megaton" Dias – Competed in an unprecedented 23 consecutive World Championships and won medals on four separate occasions. Pan American Champion (x4).[60]
  • Yvonne Duarte - Recognized as the first female Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt. She is currently a 5th degree black belt, the highest ranked female practitioner in the world. Awarded her 5th degree belt by Carlos Gracie Jr.[61]
  • Braulio Estima – ADCC Champion (x2), Brazilian Jiu Jitsu World Champion (x3), Gi and no gi Pan American Champion (x3), and European Champion (x5).
  • Alexandre "Soca" Freitas – ADCC, Pan American, World Jiu Jitsu Master champion and Brazilian National champion and medalist, was a top-level super-featherweight competitor in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Established Soca BJJ.[62]
  • Gilbert Burns – World Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Gi and NoGi (x2) Champion and UFC lightweight fighter.
  • André Galvão – World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x2), Pan American Champion Black Belt (x8), won World Jiu-Jitsu championships for every belt color following white, Co-founder of Atos Jiu-Jitsu[63]
  • Marcelo Garcia – (5x) World Jiu-Jitsu Champion, (4x) ADCC champion, (3x) Brazilian National Champion, and Pan American Champion[64]
  • Roger Gracie – World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x14)[65]
  • Fabio Gurgel – Multiple World Championship gold medal winner.
  • Rafael Lovato Jr. – First ever American to win the Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship as a black belt.[66]
  • Vinny Magalhães – Multiple World BJJ gold medalist.
  • Demian Maia – World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x5) and UFC fighter who had a series of 11 undefeated fights in MMA[67][68]
  • Robson Moura – World Jiu-Jitsu champion (x7) and Brazilian National Champion (x8)[69]
  • B.J. Penn – Former UFC Champion in two weight classes and the first non-Brazilian and American winner of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in the black-belt category[70]
  • Patrice Poissant – Former UFC Champion in one weight classe and one the first non-Brazilian winner of the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in the black-belt category[70]
  • Pablo Popovitch – (X3) No Gi World Jiu-Jitsu Champion, (X5) Pan Am No Gi Champion, ADCC World Champion, Multiple times Grapplers Quest and N.A.G.A Champion. The only grappler to have defeated Marcelo Garcia in the under 77Kg ADCC division.[71]
  • Saulo Ribeiro – World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x5) and ADCC Champion (x2)[72]
  • Vitor Ribeiro – Known as 'Shaolin', IBJJF World Champion (x4), IBJJF Master Worlds Champion, CBJJ Brazilian National Champion (x2), Cage Rage World Champion, Shooto World Lightweight Champion.
  • Xande Ribeiro – World Jiu-Jitsu Champion (x6) and Black Belt Pan American Champion (x4)[73]
  • Ronaldo Souza – Five time World Jiu Jitsu champion and former Strikeforce Middleweight Champion.
  • Léo Vieira – ADCC Champion (x2), World Jiu Jitsu Champion, Jiu Jitsu Pan Americam Champion (x2), co-founder of CheckMat jiu jitsu.[74]
  • Ricardo Vieira – World Jiu Jitsu Champion (x6) for every belt color after white, Pan American Champion, co-founder of CheckMat jiu jitsu.[74]
  • Fabrício Werdum – Multiple World BJJ, ADCC, Pan American Jiu Jitsu gold medalist and former UFC Heavyweight Champion.

Other notable practitionersEdit

Mixed Martial ArtistsEdit

This section lists mixed martial artists who practice BJJ as well as others associated with MMA that practice BJJ.

  • Gordon Ryan- One of the top BJJ practitioners in the world today. Won a world championship last year and is battling for the top No-Gi ranking in the world currently. Ranked second in points, trailing by 15, from being the top ranked no-gi practitioner on the planet. In September 2019, Ryan won gold medals in both his weight division and the absolute division of the ADCC, which is noted as the most prestigious grappling tournament currently in existence.
  • Eddie Bravo – Known for his submission victory over Royler Gracie as a brown belt in 2003. He is a black belt under Jean Jacques Machado, and the founder of 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu, a school known for its hybrid no-gi techniques. He is the creator of the Eddie Bravo Invitational grappling competition, and the EBI ruleset.[75][76]
  • Mackenzie Dern – professional mixed martial artist. Former world No. 1 ranked IBJJF competitor in the female division. ADCC and no-gi BJJ World Champion.
  • Nate Diaz – An American professional mixed martial artist who competes in the lightweight division currently signed under UFC and the winner of The Ultimate Fighter 5, black belt under Cesar Gracie.[77]
  • Nick Diaz – An American professional mixed martial artist who competes in the welterweight division currently signed under UFC, black belt under Cesar Gracie.[78]
  • Pedro Diaz - Brazilian Jiu jitsu black belt under Gustavo Dantas, 5 Time IBJJF PAN Jiu-jitsu Champion, 2 Time IBJJF US National Champion and 2013 IBJJF Masters Champion. Blackzilians Jiu Jitsu coach.[79]
  • Kenny Florian - Retired UFC competitor. Co-host of UFC Tonight and UFC Now. 3rd degree black belt under Roberto Maia.
  • Luis Franca – A contemporary and student of Mitsuyo Maeda, França would go on to be a founder of BJJ. He is notable as having established a prominent non-Gracie linage of BJJ through his protégé Oswaldo Fadda.[80]
  • Mickey Gall – An American professional mixed martial artist who competes in the welterweight division currently signed under UFC, he is currently a brown belt.[81]
  • Rolls Gracie – An innovative practitioner who influenced much of modern Brazilian jiu-jitsu.[82][83]
  • Royce GracieUFC hall of famer and pioneer of modern MMA[84][85]
  • Chris Haueter – First American black belt to compete in the Mundials de Jiu-Jitsu in Brazil; first American black belt to win a black belt match; spread BJJ to the UK and across the US in the late 1990s; coined the term "combat base" as it relates to shooting platform.[86]
  • Brian Ortega – UFC fighter who is a black belt under Rener Gracie.
  • Joe Rogan – an American comedian and color commentator for the UFC, black belt under Jean Jacques Machado, also a black belt under Eddie Bravo's 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu.[87]
  • Glover Teixeira - Professional mixed martial artist who competes in the Light Heavyweight division currently signed under UFC and is a 2nd Degree Black Belt.
  • Joaquim Valente - Professor at the Valente Brothers academy. Received his black belt and professor diploma from Helio Gracie.[88]
  • Shamil Gamzatov - UFC fighter who is a brown belt.

Celebrities and athletesEdit

This section is for actors, musicians, and athletes in sports other than MMA that practice BJJ. Each person listed is listed with their last known rank and coach if either are known. The belt rankings may be out of date for some practitioners. Included in this list are also practitioners that have died. Belt rankings for deceased practitioners are of the last known rank before they died.


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