While sparring is an excellent way to test your Brazilian jiu-jitsu skills, it is incomparable to tournaments, especially with a prize on the line. Therefore, there are many top tournaments worldwide for competitors to test their BJJ proficiency.
If you’re looking to compete, or perhaps you’re simply a Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitions fan, this article lists the best BJJ tournaments in the world.
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What Are the Best BJJ Tournaments?
Brazilian jiu-jitsu competitors attempt to compete in several tournaments each year. As a result, they plan their target competitions early in the season to focus on training and preparation. So, if this is your approach to competing, check out the following top BJJ tournaments that you should add to your calendar.
World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship
The IBJJF World Championship (known as the Worlds or Mundials) is a prestigious world jiu-jitsu competition that attracts those top-notch fighters. Therefore, the IBJJF World champions get great recognition in jiu-jitsu than others.
So, the BJJ World Championship is the dream of every competitor and only features the best of the best black belts. This tournament means the statement’ great prizes attract significant challenges.’
Since its creation in 1996, the IBJJF has not failed in holding its most prestigious tournament annually. While it was held in Brazil from 1996-2007, it was moved out and has been held in Long Beach, California, till today.
In 2016, IBJJF introduced a pay system awarding $4000-$7000 for the winners of each division and $10,000 for the winner of the open weight division. While it doesn’t pay the most among other tournaments, it is undoubtedly the most prestigious.
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European IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship
When it comes to tournaments organized by the IBJJF, only the Worlds could go ahead of the IBJJF Europeans. Hosted every January in Lisbon, Portugal, the IBJJF Europeans features several big names in jiu-jitsu.
Usually, competitors from the United States and South America travel to Lisbon to compete. However, this tournament’s sheer number of competitors puts it ahead of the Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship.
Even more interesting, in 2015, the European IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship reached the record for the world’s biggest BJJ event with 3,400 competitors.
Although not as prestigious, its prize money matches the IBJJF Worlds. Year after year, it has breakout talents, and especially if you’re a purple belt or brown belt, the IBJJF Europeans could give you the breakthrough needed.
Pan IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship
The IBJJF Pan Championship is a North American BJJ competition equivalent to the IBJJF Europeans. However, it existed long before the creation of the latter.
More recently, the Euros overtook it in terms of numbers. Regardless, it is still the second-largest tournament hosted in North America. Moreover, it stands out from the rest because it hosts both Gi and No Gi matches simultaneously.
Unforgettable as the tournament that made jiu-jitsu global, the Pans, since its inception in 1995, has been one of the most important. Due to the concentration of talent in North America, expect to see high-level black belt matches.
IBJJF World No-Gi Championship
Only behind ADCC in the No-Gi circuit, the IBJJF World No-Gi tournament offers high-level competition, and winning a medal here is the dream of every No-Gi grappler.
Just like its Gi counterpart, it is held annually in Long Beach, California. One issue, however, is that cash prizes are not awarded. But do not fret; it will likely start awarding its winners in a few years.
As is usual with IBJJF, the No-Gi World has a pretty restrictive ruleset. Even for black belt competitors, knee reaps, neck cranks, heel hooks, and slams are not allowed.
Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship
Since its creation in 1996, the Brazilian Nationals was undisputedly the world’s biggest jiu-jitsu tournament (up until the IBJJF Mundials was formed).
While it might not pull the highest numbers today, winning a BJJ Brazilian National medal is probably the most challenging feat in the jiu-jitsu circuit.
Like Jamaicans in athletics, winning the Brazilian Nationals is arguably more complicated than winning the World Championships. Why?
The Brazilian Nationals tournament is stacked with severe Brazilian competitors. Until 2012, the tournament was hosted in Rio de Janeiro, but since then, it has been held in Barueri, São Paulo, Brazil.
UAEJJF Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu-Jitsu Cup
Tipped to be the biggest BJJ competition in a few years, the Abu Dhabi World Pro Cup is organized by IBJJF’s biggest rival, the UAEJJF. Perhaps one reason it is gaining traction over IBJJF is its prize money.
Supported by the President of the UAE, Sheik Mohammed Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, this tournament offers the most significant cash prizes of any BJJ tournament.
For several reasons, the Abu Dhabi World Pro Cup tournament attracts the world’s best grapplers, one of the most obvious being its $650,000 total prizes.
Since it is pushing for the position of the world’s most prestigious BJJ competition, the tournament operates differently from others. It uses an official ranking for black and brown belts, and instead of using the regular individual/team system, it employs the individual/country approach.
More remarkably, it uses trial events which, although not necessary for participation, would earn the winner free travel, hotel, and meals for the tournament.
UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Grand Slam
The Abu Dhabi Grand Slam brings a different feel, unlike other jiu-jitsu competitions. Instead of being based in one location, it travels around the world.
Created in 2015, the Abu Dhabi Grand Slam is one of the latest on this list and, in no time, has become one of the best BJJ tournaments in the world.
ADCC World Championship
Undoubtedly, the ADCC World Championship is the most-talked-about tournament today for the right reasons.
This bi-annual tournament features the biggest names in the world of jiu-jitsu wrestling, including Gordon Ryan, Craig Jones, Nicky Rod, and so on. Moreover, it is constantly breaking records with live-gate and audience numbers.
The ADCC World is the most prestigious tournament in the No-Gi grappling scene. Unlike other tournaments on this list, This submission grappling competition is open to different grappling styles, including BJJ, wrestling, and Judo.
One reason for its prominence is its massive prizes. It awards a whooping $40,000 to the winner of the Absolute divisions and $10,000 to the winners of each division.
Aside from that, there are only 16 spots for each division, and except an athlete is invited, they have to contend for positions at trial events organized in several regions.
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Competing in Brazilian jiu-jitsu tournaments can help serious BJJ students improve their skills. As a result, tournaments will allow you to put your newly learned techniques, game plans, physical abilities, strategic planning, and so on to the test.
In this article, I highlight the top prestigious jiu-jitsu tournaments that you should compete in now or in the future; here is a list of them:
- World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship
- European IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship
- Pan IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship
- IBJJF World No-Gi Championship
- Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship
- UAEJJF Abu Dhabi World Pro Jiu-Jitsu Cup
- UAEJJF Abu Dhabi Grand Slam
- ADCC World Championship
I hope this article was helpful! have a superb BJJ competing experience.
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