In January of 2019, Master Ricardo Liborio came to a seminar on the scissor sweep that was hosted by Tampa Florida Judo and the United States Judo Association’s Kosen Judo Committee. At the USJA seminar, Master Liborio took over and simply amazed the participants with the infusion and integration of the “Libo” guard into the scissor sweep system. That day, as Liborio was promoting Judo Olympian Dr. Rhadi Ferguson to his 4th-degree black belt in BJJ, Dr. Ferguson also had a surprise for his jiu-jitsu professor and he promoted him to his Nidan rank, or 2nd-degree black belt in Judo.
Most BJJ practitioners recognize Ricardo Liborio as a legendary figure in the art of jiu-jitsu. But what many people don’t know is that Liborio was already a black belt in Judo (just like many of the old-school jiu-jitsu practitioners) before he ever started training BJJ. Master Liborio received his Shodan in Judo from Professor Mauricio Sabatini (a student of late great Professor George Mehdi) and he also trained at the famous Gama Fiho Univeristy in Brazil.
Ferguson says was not aware of the depth of Liborio’s Judo knowledge until he started training Thiago Alves for his fight with Karo Parisyan in the UFC a few years ago. It was then during some coaching discussions and meetings that he discovered that Liborio’s knowledge concerning judo was more than just “surface-level.”
“Liborio has a nice osoto gari and a mean uchimata,” said Dr. Ferguson. “And he has more knowledge in Newaza than any judo coach in America, easily! Promoting him was a privildge and a pleasure. I’m looking forward to working with him on the USJA Kosen Judo Committee as well.”