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BEST JIU JITSU FIGHTER IN UFC/BJJ GOAT
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BEST JIU JITSU FIGHTER IN UFC/BJJ GOAT

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Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is a highly dynamic form of grappling combat that dates back to the early 1900's. The ground fighting art was passed down from the old Japanese masters Kano Jigoro, and Mitsuyo Maeda. Helio Gracie became the pioneer of Gracie Jiu Jitsu, which later became Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The grappling art was designed for self defense purposes, before members of the Gracie family began developing the art for combat sports. In the late 1990's Brazilian Jiu Jitsu starred on the international stage when Royce Gracie defeated opponent after opponent in the ultimate fighting challenge. After the event, the Brazilian art grew substantially, as the notoriety of the sport stretched across the United States of America, and across the world.

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As the art had evolved, so did the necessity for Mixed Martial artists to add Brazilian Jiu Jitsu to their repertoire. Many high level MMA fighters were now using Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as a way to finish the fight in the octagon. Connecting BJJ with striking was not a new thing, as the old vale tudo in Brazil became extremely famous, before the Brazilian government applied a nationwide ban. Vale tudo would be the inspiration behind MMA, and would help create some of the best no gi jiu jitsu fighters in the world. In America the UFC was flying high, as many American fighters began using BJJ, and wrestling, as a way to create their own style of grappling. Nowadays Mixed Martial artists are actually unified with how this style of fighting has become its own art.

The greatest BJJ practitioner in MMA is Demian Maia.  He has joined forces with BJJ Fanatics to bring you his Backpack System!

best bjj in ufc

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BJJ BLACK BELTS IN MMA 

The UFC has become the number one destination for combat sports athletes to battle in Mixed Martial Arts. With the rise of MMA in America athletes are beginning to add several layers to their training regimes, as the necessity for BJJ, wrestling, judo, and striking have become essential. There have been many black belts walk into the octagon, and showcase their skills in grappling combat. From the beginning of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Helio Gracie adopted vale tudo fighting as a right of passage for the Gracie clan members to become certified in the art. Helio had the opinion that his students should be ready at any moment, as he would often pit his students against other fighters with no notice at all. This became synonymous with Gracie Jiu Jitsu, as many Gracie clan members like Rickson Gracie, Royler Gracie, Renzo Gracie, and Royce Gracie became household names throughout Brazil.

After Royce Gracie starred in the Octagon in the late 90's, many other black belt jiu jitsu legends have stepped into the limelight. In the early days of the UFC, fighters like George St Pierre, BJ Penn, Frank Mir, Anderson Silva, and the Nogueira brothers were huge advocates of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skills. Many of these fighters would go on to become UFC champions, as their all round MMA and BJJ skills became first class. As the Arts evolved BJJ became number one for transitions inside the octagon, as fighters would add ground and pound techniques to the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu skillset. There have been many other exceptional BJJ black belts step inside the octagon, athletes like Kamaru Usman, Dustin Poirier, Tony Ferguson, Fabricio Werdum, Demian Maia, Roger Gracie, Ronaldo Souza, Shinya Aoki, Miguel Torres, and Nick Diaz, have all become star studded athletes paving their way through the highly competitive world of Mixed Martial Arts.

THE GREATEST BJJ MOMENTS IN MMA

There have been many great moments in Mixed Martial Arts history over the course of the last few decades. One of the most brutal moments that happened was when Fedor Emelianenko fought Kevin Randleman. In a highly intensified match, where a ripped Kevin Randleman pulled off one of the most brutal suplex slams in the history of MMA, threw Fedor onto his neck. Fight fans all over the world thought this was the end of Fedor's career, but in true Russian resilience, he came back and submitted Randleman with a nasty kimura. Another outstanding moment in MMA history was when Anderson Silva fought against Chael Sonnen. Anderson Silva was in the prime of his life and coming into the fight against Chael with a 12 fight win streak, including 6 middleweight title defenses. Chael Sonnen dominated the match with his outstanding wrestling skills, putting Anderson Silva to the sword. As the fight entered the last 30 seconds, Anderson Silva managed to lock on a triangle, forcing Chael Sonnen to tap out with 20 seconds left in the match, as this was an extremely memorable moment in UFC history.

One of the most brutal submission victories in MMA was when Kazushi Sakuraba fought Renzo Gracie. Sakuraba was known as the Gracie killer, as he became synonymous for defeating 4 members of the Gracie family, which at the time was unthinkable. Sakuraba faced off against Renzo Gracie, who was a much more skilful, and stronger fighter than the Japanese legend. But in true Japanese warrior spirit, Kazushi Sakuraba managed to lock onto a kimura, as he viciously broke Renzo Gracie's elbow, due to the pride Renzo showed by not tapping out. Many fight fans did not give Sakuraba a chance of winning, as he showcased the heart of a warrior. 

Another memorable fight that was a shock to many people in the fight world, was when Fabricio Werdum took on the might of Fedor Emelianenko. Fedor dominated the pride FC fight scene for over a decade, before stepping on to US soil, as an undefeated fighter. Stepping into the cage at Strikeforce, every fight fan expected Fedor to make short work of the Brazilian black belt, in Fabricio Werdum, who was well known for competing in bjj comp system matches. Fedor caught Fabricio with an early right hand sending him to the canvas, and as Fedor stepped in to finish the fight Fabricio shocked the world by landing a triangle arm bar submission, forcing Fedor to tap out for the first time in his career. This fight will go down as one of the greatest submission victories, and not because of the submission itself, but because of the importance of the moment in history.

Frank Mir vs Antonio Nogueira became another memorable moment in UFC history. Their first match years earlier, where Frank Mir knocked out the Brazilian champion, was a shock to the fight world. At UFC 140 the pair signed up for a rematch, as most fight fans expected Antonio Nogueira to take out Frank Mir. On this night Frank Mir caused another stunning upset, as he managed to lock onto a kimura, as he savagely broke Antonio's arm in front of millions of viewers across the world. This fight is still revered as one of the greatest upsets in UFC history.

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WHO IS THE BEST BJJ FIGHTER IN THE UFC

There have been many great fighters to showcase their abilities inside the UFC octagon, as athletes like Anderson Silva, Kamaru Usman, Fabricio Werdum, Dustin Poirier, Frank Mir, and George St Pierre have come from some of the best bjj teams, with all of them forging outstanding careers, utilising Brazilian Jiu Jitsu elements. One fighter that does stand out above the rest is Demain Maia, who has become probably the most successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighter inside the UFC. Demian Maia joined the UFC in 2008 after an undefeated 6 and 0 start to his MMA career. Demian won his first 5 UFC fights all by submission, defeating athletes like Chael Sonnen, Nate Quarry, Ed Herman, and Jason McDonald. In 2010 at UFC 112 Demian Maia took on Anderson Silva for the middleweight UFC championship, and after 5 rounds of intense action, unfortunately Demian would lose a unanimous decision. 

This would not discourage Demian Maia, as he continued on his UFC journey winning 14 out of his next 17 matches including wins over Jorge Masvidal, Carlos Condit, Matt Brown, and Jon Fitch. At UFC 214 in 2017 Demian Maia would once again challenge for UFC gold, as this time he entered the welterweight rankings taking on Tyron Woodley. After another tough fight Demian would once again lose to another 5 round unanimous decision. Demain Maia boasts an MMA record of 28 wins with 11 losses including 14 submission victories, he also holds a UFC record of 22 wins with 11 losses including 11 submission victories. Demian also has secured 4 submission of the night awards, 2 fight of the night awards, and 2 performance of the night awards. Demian has proven himself to be one of the most successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters to ever walk into the UFC octagon, and therefore earns the title of the greatest of all time BJJ fighters in UFC history.

OTHER EXCEPTIONAL BJJ FIGHTERS IN THE UFC

There have been many successful Brazilian Jiu Jitsu fighters who became champions of the UFC. One of the greatest of all time was George St Pierre as he mixed his karate, wrestling, and BJJ skills into one smooth, and deadly attacking style of fighting. George holds four black belts in different arts including BJJ, Kyokushin Karate, Gaidojutsu, and Shidokan. George has fought the best of the best, and only lost two matches in his 28 fight MMA career. George became the fourth ever multi division champion, winning titles as a welterweight, and a middleweight. George also has the record for the most wins in title bouts, defending his title on 9 consecutive occasions. He also has the second longest combined title streak in UFC history at  2,204 days. George St Pierre has proven himself to be one of the best ever UFC fighters with wins over exceptional athletes like Matt Hughes, BJ Penn, Nick Diaz, Matt Serra, Michael Bisping, and Thiago Alves.

Kamaru Usman has also become one of the UFC greats, as he has showcased his superb striking abilities combined with his BJJ, and his NCAA wrestling attributes. Kamaru has defeated high calibre fighters like Colby Covington, Tyron Woodley, Demian Maia, Rafael dos Anjos, and Jorge Masvidal. Kamaru began his UFC career after winning The Ultimate Fighter welterweight tournament with a performance of the night against Hayder Hassan. In 2019 Kamaru defeated Tyron Woodley and became the UFC welterweight champion. Kamaru would go on to defend his title on 5 separate occasions defeating Gilbert Burns, Colby Covington twice, and Jorge Masvidal twice, before his eventual loss at UFC 278 in August of 2022 against Leon Edwards. Kamaru Usman has produced an outstanding MMA record of 20 wins with only 2 losses.

The greatest BJJ practitioner in MMA is Demian Maia.  He has joined forces with BJJ Fanatics to bring you his Backpack System!

best jiu jitsu fighters in ufc

BJ Penn has been widely revered as one of the UFC's most successful pound for pound fighters. BJ Penn was one of the first crossover athletes to compete in multiple divisions including lightweight, welterweight, middleweight, light heavyweight and open weight. BJ secured the lightweight UFC championship where he went on to defend the belt on three consecutive occasions. BJ has been responsible for many innovations in combat sports throughout his illustrious career, as he has fought some of the world's best fighters in the octagon. BJ Penn's fight list includes athletes like George St Pierre, Matt Hughes, Renzo Gracie, Takanori Gomi, Lyoto Machida, Kenny Florian, and Diego Sanchez. BJ Penn had an outstanding UFC career but was widely criticised towards the end of his journey for fighting past his prime, with 7 consecutive losses against highly capable fighters like Clay Guida, Ryan Hall, Frankie Edgar, and Nick Diaz.

There are many other fighters that have expert credentials in BJJ like Ronaldo Jacare Souza, who holds a fourth degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt. Ronaldo has lit up the MMA world with his stunning 26 and 9 win loss career, including 14 submission victories. Along with his multiple world titles, and his pan am brazilian jiu jitsu titles. Some of his victories include former UFC greats in Robbie Lawler, Chris Weidman, and Vitor Belfort. Tony Ferguson is another high level Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Eddie Bravo, at 10th planet Jiu Jitsu. Tony Ferguson has been one of the mainstays inside the UFC octagon, over the last eleven years. The former interim lightweight champion holds the record for the longest winning streak in lightweight history, at 12 consecutive wins. Tony has also won 6 fight of the night awards, 2 performance of the night awards, and a submission of the night award. Nate Diaz is another exceptional BJJ fighter who has taken the UFC by storm. Nate has beaten some of the UFC's best fighters, as he boasts a record of 20 wins with 13 losses, including 11 by submission. Nate has also won a multitude of fight of the night, and performance of the night awards, over the course of his outstanding career. Nate Diaz is notorious for his feud with Jorge Masvidal, as they both contended for the symbolic BMF championship, which ended with a Masvidal win due to Dr stoppage. 

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