BJJ, or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, is a martial art that teaches ground grappling. When it was created, people used it to learn self-defense. To this day, you can see trainees specifically training in it to learn how to fight.
Of course, other martial arts serve a different purpose. For example, today, karate became more about self-improvement rather than self-defense. Because of that, if your goal is to learn how to fight fiercely, BJJ is a more suitable choice.
The best BJJ fighters compete for the title of the best fighters, since if you know ground grappling, which is the most effective fighting technique, you know how to fight. As a result, many Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu masters—are also the ones that dominate the UFC, which is the worldwide fighting platform.
- better physical shape
- increased confidence,
- reduced stress
- learning self-defense.
And still, the list goes much further than the sneak peek I mentioned here.
This article will examine and discuss numerous fighters and rank them from #11–#1; #1 being the best. You’ll notice a pattern with these masters, they all use BJJ in different styles. Therefore, they’re able to surprise their opponents time and time again and thus compete in the elite platform: the UFC.
Before diving in, if you want to learn about the 10 tips to help you progress faster in BJJ, follow the link to an article of mine where I discuss the topic.
So, without further ado, let’s dive into the first contender, Ryan Hall.
#11 – Ryan Hall (9-2-0)
Ryan Christopher Hall is a black belt instructor and a contender in Jiu-Jitsu. He competes in the featherweight division in the UFC, which limits weight until 145 lb (65.77 kg).
Hall is able to dominate his competition by using BJJ as his personal weapon. In fact, finishing a fight in under a round—isn’t that uncommon, as you may think.
Of course, he also knows how to use other fighting techniques, such as boxing and other form of grappling. However, he’s most known for how he finishes the fight: lock the opponent in a grappling position and use it as an advantage.
Watch the video, and you’ll understand why he’s one of the best BJJ fighters worldwide. In fact, his fighting style is so unique that he’s able to surprise his opponents almost every time.
Let’s move on.
#10 – Kron Gracie (29-11-0)
Kron Gracie, the grandson of Hélio Gracie, is a black belt in BJJ and an instructor. He’s most known for being a part of the Gracie bloodline, which is, again, the most influential family in the history of BJJ and MMA.
Well, enough then about the family; let’s discuss why I decided to list Kron in the #10 spot.
Kron is one of the best BJJ fighters in the world because his style is truly fascinating to watch. He’s able to combine various other fighting techniques, including punching and kicking, and hence, dominate his competition.
His many grappling competitions have led him to be considered one of the best BJJ fighters worldwide. Because of that, I have no doubts this #10 spot is well-deserved – regarding his total efforts and achievements.
Nonetheless, he doesn’t compete as much as the Gracie family does. Because of that, I felt it was not appropriate to rank him in the top 5. And still, I do believe he’s one of the best BJJ fighters worldwide; although his lack of competition experience.
#9 – Royce Gracie (15-2-3)
Royce Gracie is one of the best BJJ fighters in the history of UFC. Because of that, he earned the honorable title of a Hall of Famer. He’s also considered to be one of the most influential fighters in the history of Jiu-Jitsu and MMA.
Today, Royce has been focusing on teaching Jiu-Jitsu and passing on his family’s legacy. As you may know, he’s a part of the Gracie family, which are the most influential family in MMA and Jiu-Jitsu.
Once you see Royce fight, you’ll understand why so many fighters have feared the man. His build is larger than most people in the UFC. However, he wears a traditional GI when he fights, which hides his physique. And yet, don’t think he’s not bulked up – since he is.
Look at this remarkable fight between the two heavyweight UFC fighters. Notice how Royce is able to finish Ken without any problems in the beginning. He’s attacking fiercely and aggressively right from the start of the fight.
That is what made him such a feared contender in MMA’s history.
Before moving on, I wrote an article about the best BJJ mats for your money. Do follow the link if you’re interested in learning more about it.
#8 – Roger Gracie (8-2-0)
Next up in the #8 spot, we have Roger Gracie. You may see something similar; yes, he’s also a part of the Gracie family, the most influential family in MMA’s and BJJ’s history.
So, what makes Roger such a fantastic fighter? He competed in BJJ’s world championship in 2009, and as you can guess, won. He is a 10 times world champion in BJJ. As you may understand, it’s one of the most remarkable achievements every Jiu-Jitsu fighter dreams of.
Notice how aggressive Roger is when he attacks. He’s able to maintain control over his opponent by using BJJ techniques, mainly keeping him on the ground for an extended period.
That alone forces his opponent to give up mentally. Then, Roger goes for the finish, regardless of who is opponent is and his favorable fighting style. That’s what makes him such a solid Jiu-Jitsu fighter.
#7 – Fabricio Werdum (24-9-1)
Fabricio Werdum is a Brazilian mixed martial artist and a BJJ fighter. He is a 4 time world champion in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Again, a title every fighter wishes to get. Because of that, we already understand how competent he is.
Werdum is able to dominate the heavyweight division by inflicting quickness combined with solid BJJ foundation to dominate his competition.
Also, he uses various other fighting techniques, which Jiu-Jitsu doesn’t teach, to have a more complete fighting style. Some of the techniques he uses are punching, kicking, kneeing, and some elbows. These, are, of course, are what Muay-Thai teaches.
The fact that he’s able to combine these techniques to create a more thorough and complete fighting style—is alone what makes him more unique and dynamic than most other fighters.
Fabricio is able to control his opponents by going for submission early in the fight. Therefore, sometimes, he finishes fights in under a minute, which is not as uncommon for him as for other fighters.
#6 – Charles Oliveira (33-8-0)
Charles Oliveria is a current contender in the lightweight division in the UFC. He’s a Brazilian martial artist who is also a black belt and an instructor in BJJ.
Charles also uses various punching techniques to knock the opponent early in the fight. Then, he uses grappling and other Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques to finish the fight while his opponent is on the ropes.
It’s truly fascinating to see Oliveira fight. On one instance, you’ll see him going full BJJ and trying various attacking positions, which are less common in MMA. On another instance, you’ll notice how he uses strikes, kicks, knees, and other fighting techniques to finish his opponents.
This combination is what made him UFC champion. It also why he’s considered rather unexpected, as he combines two martial arts to create a more dynamic fighting style.
Watch the video to understand how Charles Oliveira is able to dominate his competition while being unexpected and fierce.
#5 – Garry Tonon (6-1-0)
Garry Tonon is the first BJJ fighters we’ll discuss in the top 5 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighters. Eventually, the number of titles and achievements he had received—is remarkable. That amount of experience alone instantly made him reach the top 5 spot.
Garry Lee Tonon won numerous titles, including:
- ADCC submission wrestling championship
- Eddie Bravo invitational champion
- IBJJF World and Pan American Championship
- MMA contender
Other than his rich BJJ contender history, he’s a competent MMA fighter. In his fights, his record speaks before him. Although he doesn’t have as many MMA fights as BJJ titles, you can still see how skilled he really is when he does fight.
His combination of BJJ with many other fighting techniques make him a much more complete fighter than most grapplers. As a result, he’s able to dominate his competition by surprising them and being unexpected.
Before moving on, if you want to buy the best grappling dummy for your money, ensure you follow the link to an article of mine.
#4 – Paulo Filho (16-0-0)
Paulo Filho competed in the middleweight division. He has been one of the best fighters there. If you don’t believe me, his record walks before him.
Filho is a martial artist which uses BJJ as his primary martial art. He learned everything he knows today from the known master, Carlos Gracie.
Here are some of his main achievements:
- BJJ World Champion
- Brazilian National Champion
- Brazilian National Silver Medalist
- ADCC Brazilian Trials champion
I decided to list Filho in the #4 spot because of his remarkable, unstoppable record. I mean, 16 wins and zero losses and draws—is truly extraordinary.
Once you see Paulo fight, you’ll understand what makes him such a solid fighter. His ability to penetrate an opponent defense and force him to submit in under a single round—is not as uncommon as you may think.
#3 – Demian Maia (28-11-0)
Demian Maia competed in both the welterweight and middleweight divisions in the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC). He’s a professional Brazilian martial artist and is regarded as one of the best grapplers in MMA’s history.
In his career, he was able to compete and dominate the most elite fighters in the history of UFC. As a result, he was considered an elite fighter, that definitely deserves the #3 spot.
Maia’s ability to stay firm with a grappling technique—is what makes him such a fantastic BJJ fighter. Once he’s locked in, there’s no running.
He’s able to change a situation from a defensive standpoint to offense in a matter of seconds. All Demian looks for is a minor mistake from the opponent. Then, he utilizes this mistake to slide in and finish his opponent with a single grappling choke.
Just look at Maia’s fighting style. Do you know understand why he’s able to finish fights in such a beautiful manner? And why he’s considered as one of the best grapplers in the history of UFC?
#2 – B.J. Penn (16-14-2)
B.J. Penn is a professional martial artist that trained in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He competed in many platforms, including the UFC, which is the largest fighting platform globally.
He’s considered one of the best in the history of UFC because he could do anything he wanted to when he was in inside the ring. Eventually, it became clear that he was a different creature from everyone.
He was quick, competent, flexible, dynamic, surprising, and fierce. As a result, he was able to dominate his competition in many of his fights.
Also, he uses various other fighting techniques and styles that complete his current fighting style. He’s able to utilize striking and even kicking to attack the opponent from different angles. That allows him to be more dynamic than the average BJJ fighter.
So, not only is he a BJJ fighter, but he’s also a fantastic all-around, competent fighter—capable of using many fighting techniques, such as strikes and kicks, to dominate his competition.
Because of that, he’s regarded as one of the best fighters, and especially grappler, in the history of MMA and BJJ.
#1 – Nathan Diaz (21-13-0)
Nathan Diaz is one of the best fighters in the entire history of UFC. I started with this statement because before his BJJ titles, his level of competency—is alone worth mentioning.
When I started to write this article, I instantly knew who would be in the #1 spot. Who would it be if not the toughest, most competent fighter and grappler currently competing.
Throughout his career, Diaz was able to dominate the elite in the elite. As a result, he received a spot as one of the elite fighters in the history of the UFC.
Diaz is a 3rd Degree black belt in BJJ, under Cesar Gracie. He’s able to utilize what everything he learned under the Gracie family and bring it to the platform of MMA.
Nate dominates his competition with such ease that it’s sometimes amusing to watch. Of course, he has his weaknesses. However, he’s able to overcome them in most of his fights by using his wide tool box, which consistent of BJJ, MMA, and many other martial arts.
A single YouTube search of the name: Nate Diaz, will show you how popular he is. Because of his personality and competency in the ring, he became one of the most popular and leading fighters in the history of the UFC.
Truly, magnificent fighting, and especially grappling abilities from Nathan Diaz.
If you want to learn more about Nate Diaz and his record history in the UFC, follow the link!
Who’s the best BJJ fighter of all time?
The best BJJ fighter of all time is Paulo Filho, as his record walks before him. Additionally, he won numerous grappling and BJJ titles, such as the BJJ World Champion. Filho is able to utilize his grappling skills to finish fights in a few seconds, which is uncommon amongst other fighters in his field.
Who’s the best BJJ fighter right now?
The current best BJJ fighter—is Nate Diaz. His ability to combine numerous martial arts to create a complete and dynamic fighting style is what makes Diaz the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu fighter. His grappling skills allow him to finish many fights by submissions in under a single round.
When I decided to write this article, the list unraveled itself before me. I didn’t have to do anything, and I immediately knew who was going to be #1-#5.
BJJ, or Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu—teaches the most effective fighting techniques in all of martial arts. Ground grappling is as effective as it is because it allows the fighters to finish fights in under a single round.
In fact, both in the UFC and in street fights, you can use a single grappling technique to finish the fight. Eventually, some BJJ fighters, hence grapplers, are able to finish fights in under a few seconds with a single execution.
That is unheard of with any other martial art, including boxing, Muay-Thai, and kickboxing. Therefore, if you desire to study the most effective martial art both for self-defense and MMA, consider BJJ.
If you enjoyed reading this article, I highly encourage you to read about the best Karate fighters in MMA.