10 Most Successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Fighters To Try Out MMA (2024)


  • BJJ legends like Kron Gracie have made their mark in MMA, showcasing the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the octagon.
  • Jacare Souza's journey from the streets to BJJ and MMA success proves the transformative power of martial arts training.
  • Brazilian champions like Roger Gracie have excelled in both grappling and MMA, solidifying their status as legends in combat sports.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is one of the key aspects of Mixed Martial Arts. The wide assortment of joint locks and chokes makes it an important part of every fighter’s toolkit.

The Gracie family tried to prove BJJ, or Gracie Jiu-Jitsu's effectiveness against other disciplines on the common ground of MMA.

Since UFC’s inception, many BJJ practitioners have tested themselves in MMA with various results.

10 Kron Gracie Looks To Make The Same Impact In MMA As He Made In Grappling

A Grappling Protege Faces Mixed Luck Inside The Octagon

10 Most Successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Fighters To Try Out MMA (1)
  • He’s the son of the legendary Rickson Gracie.
  • Gracie holds wins over legends such as Hideo Tokoro and Tetsuya Kawajiri.
  • Kron is a close friend of the Diaz brothers.

As a blue belt at the age of 16, he competed in adult divisions. He placed first at the IBJJF World Championship at purple and brown levels. Kron also won the NAGA title. Finally, he grabbed the gold at the ADCC Worlds in 2013. At one point, he was riding a 51-consecutive submission win streak.

His MMA record is 5-2. Kron rolled through the competition in Japan but failed to impress in the UFC octagon with a 1-3 record.


The Gracie name is synonymous with MMA. And while some plied their trade in mixed martial arts, others refused.

9 Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza Was Discovered By Master Henrique Machado

Machado Took Souza As His Protege And Trained Him Every Day

10 Most Successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Fighters To Try Out MMA (3)
  • Jacare is a two-time ADCC World Champion.
  • He’s also won three gold medals at the BJJ World Championship.
  • Souza is a former Strikeforce middleweight champion.

After Souza witnessed the shooting of his friend, his mother moved him to Manaus in the Amazon, where he lived with his brother. Two years after the tragic event, Machado saw young Souza playing street soccer. Impressed with his athleticism, Machado invited “Jacare” to train BJJ. Souza didn’t like the sport at the beginning but changed his mind after a grueling first session.

In 2003 “Jacare” won the 2003 World Championship in the Brown Belt Division and had his first MMA fight. During the same year, Machado promoted him to the black belt.

As a freshly promoted black belt, Souza won the World Championship in 2004.

In the next year, he grabbed gold in both -88kg and absolute divisions. Later that year, he won his first ADCC Gold. Despite switching to MMA, “Jacare” returned to ADCC competition in 2009 to win gold in the Superfight division.

The Brazilian fighter also found success in MMA, as he is a former Strikeforce middleweight titleholder.

8 Roberto Souza Runs His Gym, Bonsai Jiu-Jitsu

“Satoshi” Is Successful Both As A Competitor And A Coach

  • He’s a training partner of another acclaimed grappler, Kleber Koike Erbst.
  • Souza was trained and promoted to a black belt by his father, Adilson Dai de Souza.
  • “Satoshi” is the current RIZIN lightweight champion.

Roberto and all his siblings: Mauricio, Marcos, and Cristiane found success in the grappling competition circuit. Despite focusing on GI training, his biggest success came in No Gi competition. “Satoshi” is a two-time ADCC gold medalist in the -76 kg division. He also won two bronze and a silver medal at the IBJJF World Championship.

The Brazilian-Japanese fighter transitioned well to the world of MMA. Ten out of his 16 wins came by way of submission, leading him to achieve championship status in RIZIN.

7 Rafael Lovato Jr. Has Some Impressive Achievements In His Career

Lovato Jr. Got Picked UP Martial Arts After His Father

  • He’s unbeaten in MMA.
  • Lovato Jr. was the first non-Brazilian to win Brasileiros at black belt.
  • He’s also the second American to win the BJJ World Championship at black belt.

Rafael Lovato Jr. started training BJJ at the age of 13. He was considered a top competitor at the brown belt level. Just after his 21st birthday, he was promoted to a black belt in August 2004.

Next to his mentioned achievements, he also won one gold at the BJJ World Championship and three gold medals at the No Gi World Championship.

He’s an LFA and Bellator alumnus and never lost a fight in either promotion. In 2020, Lovato Jr. was diagnosed with a brain condition called cerebral cavernoma. It led to his retirement and a ban from MMA competition in the U.S. and Europe.

However, he was able to compete in Japan. He submitted Taiga Iwasaki at Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye x Ganryujima on December 28, 2022.

6 Demian Maia Is A Former UFC Title Challenger

He Challenged For The Title On Two Different Occasions

  • His MMA record is 28-11.
  • Maia has a Judo background.
  • He made his UFC debut back in 2007.

Maia started training in judo at 4 years old. He picked up BJJ at 19 when he entered university to get a journalism degree.

He trained under the guidance of Fabio Gurgel and received his black belt after 4 years and 7 months of attending classes, sometimes 2 or 3 times a day.

Maia won one gold medal at the ADCC Worlds and three gold medals at the BJJ World Championship.

With time, he switched his focus to MMA. Maia made his UFC debut back in 2007 and has since remained a member of the promotion’s roster. He unsuccessfully challenged Anderson Silva for the middleweight and Jorge Masvidal for the welterweight titles.

5 The 80s Martial Arts Movies Inspired Marcelo Garcia

He Began His Combat Sports Journey By Training Karate

Garcia is a member of both the ADCC and IBJJF Hall of Fame.

He won World titles at blue, purple, and brown levels.

His MMA record is 0-1.

A few years after quitting karate, he gave Judo a try. He switched to BJJ under the influence of his coach.

Garcia switched gyms to evolve and started training No Gi when he was a brown belt.

He fought at Heroe’s 2007 event and lost due to a cut to Kim Dae-Won. This was his sole fight in MMA, as, despite his declarations, he decided to focus on his gym and BJJ career.

Ultimately, he won 4 gold medals at the ADCC Worlds and 5 gold medals at the BJJ World Championship.

4 Braulio Estima Is Considered To Be A Top Competitor of the 2000s

He Won The Pan-American Title By Submitting 7 Opponents

  • He has a background in judo.
  • Estima won 5 major junior titles in a row as a white belt.
  • He has the sole MMA fight on his record.

Braulio Estima started training Judo at the age of 9. After the tragic death of his coach, he lost interest in training altogether. He picked up BJJ in 1996 at age 16. As a white belt, he won 5 major titles at the junior level.

In 2003, he won the Pan American championship by submitting 7 people in 5 minutes and 24 seconds.

He was promoted to a black belt by Carlos Gracie Jr. five months after winning the World Championship. He also won two more gold medals.

Estima also found success in the ADCC circuit as he won three gold medals.

His sole MMA fight took place at Titan FC 24, where he submitted Chris Holland.

3 Alexandro Ribeiro Teaches His Style Of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

With His Brother, Saulo Ribeiro, They Promote “Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu”

  • He’s unbeaten in MMA.
  • Ribeiro brothers have trained various MMA fighters, including Diego Sanchez.
  • Alexandro Ribeiro was promoted to a black belt by his brother, Saulo.

Alexandre Ribeiro started training BJJ at ten years old under the guidance of the Monteiro Brothers. During his first 7 years of training, he lost only two times in competition.

After turning 18, Alexandre moved to Rio de Janeiro to pursue a degree in law and continue his training at Royler Gracie’s gym alongside his brother. He won two world championships in the first two years of training in Rio.

In 2001, Alexandre Ribeiro was promoted to a black belt by his brother, Saulo.

And else, as they say, is history, as he won two gold medals at the ADCC Worlds, seven gold medals at the BJJ World Championship, and two gold medals at the No Gi World Championship.

Later, alongside his brother, he found great success as a coach and ambassador of BJJ.

Ribeiro is unbeaten in MMA, as he won both his fights in the now-defunct Japanese promotion, Victory Road Presents Sengoku.

2 Andre Galvao Is Eager To Compete Despite His Age

He Has Been Active Competitor since 2007

  • Galvao is both an ADCC and IBJJF Hall of Famer.
  • He competed in such promotions as DREAM and Strikeforce.
  • In his last appearance, he lost to Gordon Ryan.

Galvao started training in Judo at a young age. He switched to BJJ under the influence of his brother.

As a purple belt, he won the IBJJF “Grand Slam” (World, Pan American, and Brazilian championships). He continued winning as a brown belt, with a sole loss to Ricardo Abreu.

This winning series led Andre Galvao to win 4 World Championships in a row, from blue to black belt.

After his MMA stint with fights in DREAM and Strikeforce, he ended his MMA career in 2010. Next, he returned to grappling competition. He won seven gold medals at ADCC Worlds from 2011 to 2019. Galvao also added two gold medals at the IBJJF World Championships.

He signed a contract with ONE Championship in 2021 and grappled with light heavyweight and middleweight champion Reinier de Ridder to a time-limit draw at One: X.


Royce Gracie: How An Undersized Brazillian Jiu Jitsu Player Defined MMA Forever

Everything to know about Royce Gracie and his influence in bringing jiu-jitsu to mixed martial arts.

1 Roger Gracie Is Regarded As One Of BJJ’s Greatest Of All Time

He Found Success In Both Grappling And MMA Competitions

10 Most Successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Fighters To Try Out MMA (5)
  • Gracie was inducted into both the IBJJF and ADCC Hall of Fame.
  • He competed in Strikeforce, UFC, and ONE Championship.
  • The Brazilian was the first ONE light heavyweight champion.

As a member of the Gracie family, Roger was destined for greatness. Dreaming of being a successful grappler, he started training at a very young age.

As a blue belt, he won his first championships, including Mundial in 2000. In 2004, he was promoted to a black belt. Just a year later, he competed in the ADCC Worlds and won two gold medals at -99 and absolute divisions. Impressively enough, he submitted all of his opponents.

Gracie also won the IBJJF World Championships on 10 different occasions.

His MMA record is 8-2 with six wins coming via submissions. At ONE: Ascent to power, he submitted Michał Pasternak to win the inaugural light heavyweight championship. He submitted the belt after retiring from MMA competition.

10 Most Successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Fighters To Try Out MMA (2024)
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