An Interview With Roberto Jimenez: Jiu-Jitsu’s Blue Belt Prodigy

Sixteen-year-old black belt killer Roberto Jimenz is preparing for a match up with Atos Team’s Kaynan Duarte in the second round of the Challenge on February 18.

Roberto Jimenez is a jiu-jitsu blue belt from Alliance Team Gacho who has surprised many in the BJJ world with five (and counting!) competition victories over black belts. All at the relatively young age of 16.

The Jiu-Jitsu Times caught up with Roberto and asked him a few questions as he prepared for his upcoming match.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Roberto, can you tell us when you started training and a little about your athletic background?

Roberto Jimenez: I started jiu-jitsu when I was five, living in Guayaquil, Ecuador. My dad made me start because he had been training for a while and really like it so wanted me to try it. I didn’t like it at all, and I was already doing swimming and tennis, I used to be obsessed with my tennis rackets, but he made me go to jiu-jitsu either way.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Roberto, what you have been up to competitively in the last year?
Which tournaments have you competed in? Any titles you have won?

Roberto Jimenez: This past year was my first as a juvenile and thankfully I won every tournament I was in. I won weight and absolute Pans, eight Worlds , No-gi Worlds, and double gold Gi and No-gi American nationals. I also competed in the Royal tournament at Studio 540 and won. Thankfully, I started the year off good with double gold at European Open.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: You are set to match another tough competitor in Kaynan Duarte from Team Atos. How do you see your game matching up against the skills of Kaynan? What is your game? What areas of the fight do you feel you might have an advantage?

Roberto Jimenez: I’m excited for meeting Kaynan. I’ve looked up to him as a juvenile and I think it’s going to be a great match. I know he has a strong passing game and I feel like I do, too. I’m going to try to be on top. I do feel like I am a little faster than him, but we will find out .

Jiu-Jitsu Times: What has been the reaction so far to your victories over the black belts in competition?

Roberto Jimenez: When I beat a black belt for the first time as a green belt people were surprised but I didn’t really feel differently , I think every one is the same and the belt is just something you wear of course any black belt deserves special respect but in the end they are the same as you and me t just depends on who really wants to win.

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Can you describe what a typical training week is like to prepare for a competition? Does your training differ much depending if the event is submission only, no-gi or IBJJF rules? What training methods do you use  to make you ready for a match like this?

Roberto Jimenez: My training doesn’t change too much when I compete. It just gets a little more intense. I usually do noon training three times a week from 11 to 1 and night training every day from 6:45 to 9. I also help with the kids class every day. I recently started to lift weights around 3 – 4 times a week .

Jiu-Jitsu Times: Lastly, would you like to shout out to any sponsors, training partners, or coaches?

Roberto Jimenez: I want to give thanks to my sponsors Moyabrand for always being there since day 1 and also to Monkeytape, Moskova, and Archetype.


  1. Nice article but a bit misleading. He is a blue belt only because of his age, not based on his skill set. Let’s be realistic- he’s been training since he was 5! That’s not logistically a ‘blue belt’. He obviously has the skills of a black belt. Every article you or any other site posts about ‘time on the mat’ confirms that you can only learn by application of the principles = time on the mat. Good luck to him. He has a bright future.


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