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Best Submission Wrestlers of All Time



In the sport of submission wrestling, there are five competitors that are recognized as the top best in the sport. These submission wrestlers have had multiple achievements at the pinnacle events of submission wrestling, known as Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) and the World Nogi Championships.  Read below to learn a little more about these no gi legends.

5) Ricardo Arona –

Ricardo Arona is most famous for his destructive tear in PRIDE FC where he beat MMA legends such as Kazushi Sakuraba, Alistair Overeem and Dan Henderson. But he also was a complete beast in ADCC. Arona, a black belt in BJJ from Brazilian Top Team, had an amazing feat of being undefeated in ADCC. Ricardo won ADDC in the 99kg and absolute categories in 2000 and 2001. Even more impressive is that Arona was never even scored on in ADCC. No competitor was able to gain a single point against him.

4) Royler Gracie –

No list of no gi grapplers can go without Royler Gracie being mentioned. Royler was the Gracie that really took to the no gi style of competition and won ADCC three years straight in 1999, 2000 and 2001. For those three years, everyone in the 65kg category fell victim to the grappling prowess of Royler. Royler used the BJJ he learned from his father, Helio to take over the ADCC titles.

3) Pablo Popovitch –

            Pablo Popovitch was a destructive force from 2005 to 2012. During that time frame, the man took home five gold medals, four silver medals and one bronze between his wins at ADCC and the World Nogi Championships. Known for his strong takedowns and relentless passing game, he was able to manhandle his competition. Some of the greats that Popovitch was able to beat included Victor Estima, Alexandre Ribeiro, and Romulo Barral.

2) Rubens Charles Maciel –

Rubens Charles Maciel, better known as Cobrinha is one of the best to compete in gi or no gi. Cobrinha took home gold on four separate occasions at the World Nogi Championships, two times at ADCC, and twice took home silver medals from ADCC. With his masterful use of the De La Riva guard, many champions have fallen to the one they called “Little Snake”. Cobrinha showed everyone that he was was a serious submission wrestler as well as a gi competitor.


1) Marcelo Garcia –

The king of all no gi submission wrestling goes to the one and only Marcelo Garcia. Marcelo took home four golds, two silvers and one bronze medal from his time competing in ADCC. No one at the 77kg could come close to beating him, and even in the absolute class, he was feared. Known for his precise and killer use of the guillotine choke, the north south choke, butterfly guard and x guard, he was able to beat a who’s who list of people in high level submission wrestling. Marcelo had defeated Kron Gracie, Leo Vieira and Ricco Rodriquez all at ADCC. Being one of the smaller competitors, he was a master to be reckoned with.

These competitors have cemented their legacies with their masterful technique and even more memorable battles. Through it all, these have shown the power of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu in the submission wrestling arena.



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