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Fernando Terere Augusto

One of the most skilled and charismatic competitors to ever set on the mat. Though his competition career was cut way far too short by a tragic drug addiction and mental health problems, his aggressive fighting style and developments such as Toreando and Leg Drag can still be felt today.

Terere was a black belt world champion by the time he was 20 and was often regarded as the best Pound for Pound grappler in the early 2000’s. His aggressive style of the top game was unseen before him, and his highly active Jiu-Jitsu combined with his natural charisma often worked the crowd up into a roar.

Sadly around 2004, at the height of his competitive career, he began a downward spiral into drug addiction which led to severe mental health problems. After a few stints in rehab, Terere returned to the mats in 2012 fighting and winning a small black belt tournament in Mexico. And has recently fought and won in Polaris and a Gracie Pro event


Throughout his far too short of a career, Terere has won countless tournaments including multiple World Championships, multiple Pan American Championships, Multiple Brazilian National Championships, and multiple World Cup Championships.

  • IBJJF World Champion 1997- Blue Belt
  • IBJJF World Champion 1998- Purple Belt. Weight Class and Absolute Division
  • IBJJF World Champion 1999 – Brown Belt
  • IBJJF World Champion 2000 – Black Belt
  • IBJJF World Champion 2003- Black Belt
  • IBJJF Worlds Runner up 2001
  • IBJJF Worlds Runner Up 2004- Ultra Heavy Weight Division despite Terere weighing in at 165lbs, losing only to Fabricio Werdum
  • IBJJF Pan American Championship 2004 – Weight Class
  • IBJJF Pan American Runner Up 2004 – Absolute Division
  • Copa do Mundo Champion – 2002 and 2003
  • Brazilian National Champion 1994 and 1996 – Blue Belt
  • Brazilian National Champion 1999 – Brown Belt
  • Brazilian National Champion 2001 and 2003 – Black Belt

Besides his accomplishments in tournaments, Terere also had a short but successful stint as a coach. In 2003 he and Eduardo Telles created the TT team. Though the team helped groom the future generation of top level competitors such as Andre Galvo, and Rubens “Cobrinha” Charles, its main focus was on helping improve their lives through Jiu-Jitsu. Coming from the poverty stricken favelas, Terere wanted everyone to be able to train and enjoy the Jiu-Jitsu lifestyle despite their backgrounds. Unfortunately TT Team was ended in 2006.


Terere is widely known for his aggressive and innovative style of grappling.

When many were still focusing on closed guard and control, Terere was focused on creating dynamic scrambles and relentless attacks from the top. One article compared him to the Jimi Hendrix of grappling, showing something completely new and changing the game forever.

Terere continues to teach out of his Academia Fernando Terere, and travels the world giving seminars of his unique approach to Jiu-Jitsu. He also has his 6 volume Favela Jiu-Jitsu series here on BJJ Fanatics.


Volumes 1 – 3 of Terere’s Favela Jiu-Jitsu. Learn his aggressive and dynamic passing style in this 3 disk instructional from the man who changed the Jiu-Jitsu game forever.



Learn Terere’s relentless submission attacks from the top position in this 3 disk set. Combine it with Volumes 1-3 of Favela Jiu-Jitsu to learn the most ruthless top game in Jiu-Jitsu there is.


Fernando “Terere” Augusto Bio

Born in 1980, Terere grew up in poverty in the Morro do Cantagalo (Rooster Hill) favela in Rio de Janeiro. Terere grew up surviving on the streets, making extra money by doing random jobs for the local drug dealers.

Luckily for all of us, he found a local Jiu-Jitsu academy run by a Master “Lelo” and trained there until he was a green belt and Master Lelo stopped teaching.

It was some time later when Terere 14 that Otavio Couto found him and his friends parking cars at the local McDonalds, he invited them to train at his local academy for free as a way to escape the gangs and drugs of the streets.

By the time he was a Blue Belt, Terere had already won every major tournament there was and was considered one of the toughest rolls in his gym, despite having several world class Black Belts in his gym. And in 1998, as a Purple Belt, he made his first big impact on the tournament scene.

It was around this time that he began to get noticed for his totally unique approach to Jiu-Jitsu, for his relentless dynamic pace, and creative top game, at a time when the guard was still considered the most desirable position.

When asked about why he adopted a more top game based style, Terere replied that always liked to fight from the top because he is a little claustrophobic and didn’t like how confined he felt being on the bottom, and every time he was in a bad position he would try to spin out of it as fast and explosively as possible.

He also became known for his ability to work the crowd up, most notably in the 1998 World Championships. His Alliance Team and fierce rivals Gracie Barra were tied for points going into the Absolute division, and Terere was heading up against the much larger Super Heavyweight Rolles Gracie. Terere used his aggressive style to take the fight to Rolles and didn’t give him an inch to breath. Terere was about to lock in a standing triangle choke when out of frustration Rolles slammed him to the mat resulting in a DQ and the match and points going to Terere, winning Alliance the team title. This match shot Terere into stardom.

Over the next several years Terere continued to tear up the competition scene. He was constantly on top of the podium and was taking down some big names in the sport. In 1999 as a brown belt, Terere would beat the legendary BJ Penn in the Semi Finals of the Mundials, and then take home the gold that year. The next year, both Penn and Terere took home gold in their black belt divisions. Terere would win his first black belt title that year by defeating “king of the omoplata”, one of the best guard players there’s been, and multiple time World Champion; Nino Schembri.

He would continue to rack up wins and titles until 2004 when in a daring and possibly cocky move, he entered the Worlds as an Ultra Heavy Weight, 3 weight classes above his normal weight. The weight disadvantage didn’t matter much to Terere, winning his first two fights. Only being stopped in the finals by future UFC Champion Fabricio Werdum.

Unfortunately 2004 is also the year that Terere’s life began to fall apart. It began with an arrest for public disturbance on an American Airlines flight which led to a short stint in prison.

In prison, Terere was diagnosed with drug induced schizophrenia. This further led him down into drug addiction as a way to try to cope with his mental illness. Drug addiction truly took everything from Terere, he was back in the same drug filled type of environment from his childhood he worked so hard to escape. At one point during his lowest, Terere sold his beloved Black Belt to a former student, Alan Nascimento, for five reais to buy crack.

Luckily this story does not end on such a down note. Terere, one of the best and most innovative grapplers we have ever seen, very well could have become just another drug statistic, but after several stints in rehab and several relapses the future seems to be looking up for Terere. 

He has been clean for several years at this point and has been getting treatment for his schizophrenia, and was able to return to a small competition in Mexico in 2012. His first time on a stage in 8 years. Then again the next year, he entered the European Opens and, in an emotional display, he was given back then same black belt he sold to his student. 

Terere Documentary


Terere vs Marcelo Garcia

Terere vs Matt Serra

Did you find reading about Fernando Terere Augusto interesting? Then feel free to check out other athletes:

Also consider checking:

The Complete Terere Game Beginner To Advanced by Fernando Terere

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