Posted on June 17 2019


by Pavel Zaremba

In the world of martial arts, there are plenty of disciplines and fighting styles which differ from one another and have multiple advantages and disadvantages in certain situations. Though fans and practitioners of each martial art argue that their style is the best and others are inferior, you've got to keep in mind that Royce Gracie, who is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner, won the first Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) in 1993 by beating three men in one night.

Royce Gracie defeated a journeyman boxer Art Jimmerson, wrestler and shootfighting practitioner Ken Shamrock (a true legend and pioneer of MMA) and then, went on to defeat a Karate and Savate practitioner Gerard Gordeau, taking his opponent to the ground and securing a "rear naked choke". Royce changed mixed martial arts forever and was one of those fighters, who tried to popularize it among the regular masses who by that time knew only of boxing. He will always be remembered as one of the best BJJ fighters of all time as well as other members of the world-wide known Gracie family.

The next BJJ practitioner that also made a huge contribution to applying this martial art effectively in MMA is Eddie Bravo who is a 3rd Degree Black belt under Jean-Jacques Machado. He is the founder and the head coach of his "10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu" academy. He has lots of talented fighters under his guidance including UFC fighters Tony "El Cucui" Ferguson, Kelvin Gastelum and also a UFC commentator Joe Rogan (also a BJJ black belt). Bravo has a really unusual approach to his game and has patented his signature rubber guard, transitions and reversals from half-guard and such submissions as "twister" and "electric chair".     

 Another athlete and coach which absolutely needs to be included in this list is John Danaher. John Danaher is a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt under Renzo Gracie and an instructor at Renzo’s academy in New York City, being widely regarded within the grappling community as one of the best coaches and BJJ practitioners of his generation. His ground game is astounding to watch and the way he breaks down techniques is quite fascinating. Danaher is best known for his work with athletes such as George Saint Pierre (a UFC two-division champion and a Hall Of Fame member), Garry Tonon, Gordon Ryan and Eddie Cummings known among BJJ fans as the Danaher Death Squad (DDS).

 Another on this list is Gordon Rayan, a BJJ fighter listed above in the Danaher Death Squad. He is considered to be one of, if not the best, BJJ fighters right now. He got his black belt under the Guidance of Garry Tonon and John Danaher. Gordon's main achievements are 1st Place in ADCC World Championship (2017); 1st Place in IBJJF World No-Gi Championship (2018) and 1st Place in IBJJF Pans No-Gi Championship (2018). He has W's over BJJ legends Alexandre Ribeiro, Romulo Barral, and Gabriel Arges.

 Last but not least is Marcelo Garcia an athlete whose fame and glory is immeasurable. Having won 5 world jiu-jitsu tournaments and 4 times the ADCC (two of the most important tournaments in jiu-jitsu), Garcia is widely considered one of the best grapplers in the world and has also been featured in "BJJHeroes" top 10 Best Grapplers of All Time list. The list can go on for quite some time, mentioning such names as Keenan Cornelius, Vinny Magalhães, Rousimar Palhares, Dean Lister, and many others. This sport is rich in talent and is becoming more and more popular each day. There might be more great names to emerge in the BJJ world soon, but these in the least are considered to be the biggest and most influential.

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