Recently, we talked about the top five best bases in MMA, and one of those bases happened to be Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. The art of submissions has had many high level and ranked athletes step into the cage but not all of them do too well. Here is a list of the best MMA fighters from a BJJ base, but these are based on still active fighters so do not expect Royce Gracie on this list.
#5 Antonio “Big Nog” Nogueira
While Royce can be attributed to starting the trend of BJJ practitioners in MMA, Nogueira helped bolster that sentiment for much of the new millennia. Currently a fourth degree black belt in BJJ, Nogueira is one of the only men to hold a world title in Pride and the UFC, and he has done that by using his skills on the mat. Submissions over Cro Cop, Heath Herring, Tim Sylvia, and Mark Coleman cement his record as one of the top BJJ athletes in MMA. Lets see what he can do against fellow black belt Roy Nelson later this year.
#4 Frank Mir
If we include Big Nog, we have to include the first man to submit him as well. Frank Mir was never the greatest pure BJJ practitioner, but he somehow was able to translate it well in the Octagon. From breaking Tim Sylvia’s and Big Nog’s arms to making Brock Lesnar tap, Mir has made a career off submitting his opponents. Unfortunately, it looks like a career that might be coming to an end.
#3 Demian Maia
Demian Maia is a former Middleweight title challenger who busted onto the scene with technical Jiu Jitsu rarely seen in MMA. Another fourth degree black belt, Maia submitted his first five UFC opponents and won four fight of the night bonuses for his effort. Those wins came over the likes of Nate Quarry, Ed Herman, and Chael Sonnen. Not bad for a fighter who always belonged at Welterweight.
#2 Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Souza may have added knockout power to his arsenal now, but he will always have one of the best BJJ games to fall back on. He actually won and competed in many BJJ tournaments before turning to MMA. A five time world champion with multiple wins at openweight, Souza could use that skill to become a UFC champion, and he looks to be well on his way with submission wins over Robbie Lawler, Matt Lindland, and Alexander Shlemenko.
#1 Fabricio Werdum
The BJJ practitioner that sits on the top of the heap is the current number one contender to the UFC Heavyweight title, Fabricio Werdum. This is a fighter who has submitted Alistair Overeem, Big Nog, and the crown jewel of it all, Fedor. The first man to legitimately beat the former Pride champion, and he did it in a little over a minute. That is what makes him the best BJJ practitioner currently in MMA.