Some of the greatest Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors of all time are part of the current generation: Buchecha, Galvao, Mendes, Ribeiro, just to name a few.
But the relatively young history of jiu-jitsu competition has some influential legends that newer jiu-jitsu fans may not have heard of.
Here are five of them.
Some call the charismatic and talented Fernando “Tererê” the first jiu-jitsu superstar. Check out the video of fans going wild and chanting his name.
A multiple-time World Champion (black belt: 2000, 2003; brown: 1999, purple: 1998 weight & absolute; blue: 1997) Tererê has also coached many top competitors like Andre Galvao.
He has an academy in Ipanema in Rio de Janeiro and is considered a folk hero in the favaelas where he grew up in Brazil.
Fernando “Margarida” Pontes
Although there are competitors with more world titles, Margarida notably won the Open Weight World title in 2001.
However, it was Pontes’ attacking and exciting style that made him a huge fan favorite in the early 2000’s
Margarida tapped out many opponents with his knee slice pass, to knee on belly, to baseball bat choke.
He is indeed an exciting fighter!
Roberto “Roleta” Magalhaes
Known for his innovative guard game, some credit him with the development of the inverted guard.
A four-time World Champion in the late 90’s, Roleta is a jiu-jitsu black belt training under Carlinhos Gracie at the original Gracie Barra gym in Rio de Janeiro. He now has his own academy: Roleta BJJ.
A precious few jiu-jitsu fighters have become so famous for using and developing a certain technique that their name is attached to the move forever.
Check out a video on one of the most famous guard players of all time
One of Carlson’s Gracie’s most loyal bulldogs, Wallid was a ferocious competitor known for his top pressure and determination.
Wallid had many MMA and vale tudo fights. He is still active in promoting and coaching professional MMA today.
Perhaps Wallid is best known for his crushing pressure passing and choking Royce Gracie unconscious at a super fight at the “Oscar’s” of jiu-jitsu.
Márcio Feitosa is known these days for being one of the top Gracie Barra leaders, and he is helping the company expand throughout the world.
In his competitive heyday, Feitosa won three World titles (1997, 2001, 2002) and an ADCC title.
Feitosa was one of the key figures in building the powerhouse Gracie Barra teams. He is now considered one of the most technical instructors and makes his home in Irvine, California at the Gracie Barra HQ.
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How can you have overlooked Joao Santos???
6 x European and 2 x Pan Am, the man is a legend!