Are you curious to know who the most successful jiu-jitsu practitioners in the Ultimate Fighting Championship are? The UFC is an elite platform for mixed martial arts and brings together some of the world’s most talented fighters, many of whom have a background in jiu-jitsu, sambo, wrestling, and kickboxing.
Notable Jiu-Jitsu fighters in the UFC include Anderson Silva, Demian Maia, Jacare Souza, Ronaldo Souza, Ryan Hall, and Charles Oliveira.
This article explores the top Jiu-Jitsu fighters who excel in the UFC. You’ll discover some of the best athletes who have mastered the BJJ martial art and have made a name for themselves in the UFC. We’ll highlight their accomplishments, skills, and how their Jiu-Jitsu expertise has helped them in the octagon. Stay tuned!
Best Jiu-Jitsu UFC Fighters
Over the years of the UFC, some remarkable martial artists with remarkable Jiu-Jitsu techniques have been highlighted in the Octagon. These talented fighters have not only done well in this combat sport but have also made a long-term impression on how Jiu-Jitsu has advanced in MMA.
Nate Diaz, who was born on April 16, 1985, in Stockton, CA, is a renowned MMA fighter known for his expertise in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
At a young age, he began his martial arts training under Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Stockton. Through hard work and dedication, Diaz has perfected his BJJ abilities and has been praised for his proficiency.
Diaz has achieved great success during his time in the UFC and MMA, the highlight being his victory in “The Ultimate Fighter 5”. His MMA career, which began in 2004, has seen him take on some of the toughest competitors, including Conor McGregor, Donald Cerrone, and Jim Miller.
Diaz’s fighting style is largely based upon his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu background and it is through his submissions that the majority of his triumphs have been achieved.
Throughout his martial arts career, Diaz has been awarded several accolades, like “Fight of the Night,” “Submission of the Night,” and “Performance of the Night.” He has an incredible record of 21 victories in 34 Mixed Martial Arts fights, 12 of which were by submission.
His commitment to the sport and his outstanding record makes him one of the most outstanding competitors in the UFC.
Tony Ferguson, nicknamed “El Cucuy,” is a well-known name in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA).
Born in Oxnard, California on February 12, 1984, Ferguson has a varied martial arts background, including instruction in freestyle wrestling, boxing, jiu-jitsu, Muay Thai, and Wing Chun. He has been trained by Eddie Bravo and is affiliated with 10th Planet Jiu-Jitsu.
Tony Ferguson has left his mark in the world of Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) throughout his UFC career. He became the Interim UFC Lightweight Champion and was a standout competitor in “The Ultimate Fighter 13” in 2011.
Throughout the years, Ferguson has triumphed over a number of renowned fighters in the UFC.
He has been awarded “Fight of the Night” and “Performance of the Night” multiple times, such as when he defeated Donald Cerrone, Anthony Pettis, and Rafael dos Anjos.
Although he has had some losses, his never-give-up attitude and unique style of fighting have made him a fan favorite in UFC.
Anderson Silva, referred to affectionately as “The Spider,” is a renowned figure in mixed martial arts. He was born in São Paulo and eventually settled in Curitiba, where he studied taekwondo, capoeira, and muay thai.
Silva received instruction in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Antônio Rodrigo “Minotauro” Nogueira, a renowned figure in the sport.
Anderson’s MMA record is incomparable. He had success in Cage Rage and Pride Fighting Championships before joining the Ultimate Fighting Championship in 2006.
He was crowned Middleweight UFC Champion and remained the title holder for an unprecedented length of time, becoming one of the most accomplished martial artists in the sport.
During his time with the UFC from 2006 to 2020, he faced and triumphed over some of the best fighters in the world. Silva’s proficiency in striking and jiu-jitsu made him an intimidating adversary.
Silva accrued a total of 34 victories, of which 23 were knockouts and 3 submissions. His mark on the UFC is immortalized through his induction into the UFC Hall of Fame.
Demian Maia, hailing from São Paulo, Brazil, was born on the 6th of November in 1977. He is a celebrated UFC Jiu-Jitsu fighter, having initially trained in judo, kung fu, and karate before focusing on the latter.
Maia dedicated himself to mastering the BJJ fighting style, studying under renowned figures like Rickson Gracie. His hard work has been recognized in the grappling sphere, as he has been awarded gold medals at the ADCC World Championships, World Jiu-Jitsu Cup, and Pan-American Championships.
Maia’s influence in the Ultimate Fighting Championship cannot be overstated. He began his UFC career with a number of impressive wins, garnering several “Submission of the Night” accolades against Ryan Jensen, Ed Herman, and Jason MacDonald.
Demian also had a shot at the UFC Middleweight Championship against Anderson Silva at UFC 112.
Later on, Demian Maia moved to the welterweight class and took on some of the top names and champions, such as Tyron Woodley for the UFC Welterweight Championship.
Throughout his time in the UFC, Maia has been praised for his incredible grappling abilities, firmly establishing himself as one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in MMA.
Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
Ronaldo Souza, better known as “Jacare”, is well-known in the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA. He is of the best jiu-jitsu fighters in the UFC with a record of 26-10-0.
Hailing from Vila Velha in Espírito Santo, Brazil, Jacare’s achievements in the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu have been remarkable. He is a renowned black belt who earned countless awards such as the World Jiu-Jitsu Champion, ADCC Submission Fighting World Champion, CBJJO World Cup Champion, Brazilian National Champion, and European Open Champion.
Jacare’s mastery of submission grappling has been highlighted by his victories in renowned championships including the ADCC and IBJJF tournaments.
Ronaldo Souza’s MMA journey started at the beginning of the 2000s, taking part in events such as Jungle Fight. He was a major player in Strikeforce and managed to secure the Middleweight title.
In the UFC, Jacare faced off against some of the top names, such as Chris Weidman, Kelvin Gastelum, and Robert Whittaker. He has made a name for himself through his advanced submission techniques, including arm triangles and rear-naked chokes.
Ryan Hall, born on February 22, 1985, is a renowned figure in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and mixed martial arts. He is famously known by the moniker “The Wizard” and is a member of the Tristar Gym.
Hall’s BJJ career has been marked by numerous successes, like his double victory at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship in 2008 and 2009, his World No-Gi Championship win in 2008, and his Brazilian National Jiu-Jitsu Championship win in 2008.
In addition, his extraordinary grappling skills have earned him an eminent reputation in the grappling community, as well as his ADCC North American Championship win in 2008.
Ryan Hall has had a successful MMA career with the UFC, having won nine of his eleven fights (two by knockout, three by submission, and four by decision). He was the victor of The Ultimate Fighter 22 Lightweight Winner.
His notable successes include his triumphs over Artem Lobov in The Ultimate Fighter: Team McGregor vs. Team Faber Finale, BJ Penn at UFC 232, and Darren Elkins at UFC on ESPN+ 13.
In addition, he beat Darrick Minner at UFC 269 in December 2021. Despite the successes, Hall has faced his fair share of defeats in his UFC journey.
Ryan Hall’s career in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and the UFC has been characterized by notable accomplishments and renown due to his grappling proficiency.
Charles Oliveira da Silva, nicknamed “do Bronx”, is a highly-respected Brazilian mixed martial artist and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor.
Born on October 17th, 1989 in Guarujá, São Paulo, he overcame the difficulties of growing up in the favela by pursuing his passion for BJJ. He endured a heart murmur and rheumatic fever in his youth, yet still managed to become a CBJJE World Champion with the help of his mentor, Jorge “Macaco” Patino.
Oliveira has also had the opportunity to challenge several prominent fighters such as Renan Barão throughout his career.
Charles do Bronx began his mixed martial arts career in Vale-Tudo fights before transitioning to professional MMA. He made his debut in the UFC in 2010, where he quickly made a name for himself with his impressive submission skills.
Over the years, Oliveira has set several records in the UFC, including the most submission wins, the most finishes, and the most bonuses.
In 2021, Oliveira won the UFC Lightweight Championship by defeating Michael Chandler, and he successfully defended his title against Dustin Poirier later that year.
As of 2023, Oliveira has extended his record for the most finishes in UFC history with his win over Beneil Dariush at UFC 289. His exceptional skills and achievements have solidified his reputation as one of the best jiu-jitsu fighters in the UFC.
Brian Ortega, nicknamed “T-City”, is an American mixed martial artist who has a great amount of experience in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He was born in Los Angeles and spent his childhood in a Section 8 housing project in San Pedro.
Ortega was instructed in jiu-jitsu at the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in Torrance, California, where he was trained by Rener Gracie. His expertise in the discipline is clear in his battles, where he has utilized the triangle choke, a signature jiu-jitsu move, to secure triumphs.
Since 2010, when he began his MMA career, Ortega has been a regular in the UFC since 2014. To date, he has an impressive 15 wins and 3 losses. He was honored with a Performance of the Night bonus for a knockout win against Frankie Edgar at UFC 222.
Ortega also earned a unanimous decision win over Jung Chan-sung at UFC Fight Night: Ortega vs. The Korean Zombie. He has been a contender for the UFC Featherweight Championship twice, unsuccessfully challenging Max Holloway at UFC 231 and Alexander Volkanovski at UFC 266.
Royce Gracie was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, and was educated in jiu-jitsu by his father, Hélio Gracie, who was a major figure in the development and promotion of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
He went to Torrance, California, to further his training under his brother Rorion Gracie.
The Gracie family is renowned for their contribution to martial arts, particularly in the form of their “Gracie Challenge,” which was a form of no-holds-barred fighting that paved the way for modern mixed martial arts.
Royce made his debut in the UFC at UFC 1 and became the tournament victor. The Gracie family had selected him to demonstrate the strength of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the open weight, single-elimination tournament.
He won his UFC fights by employing submission tactics, which highlighted the might of grappling and ground fighting. Royce carried on his success into UFC 2 and UFC 4, emerging again as the tournament champion.
The rivalry between Gracie and Ken Shamrock has become one of the most famous in UFC history. At UFC 1, Gracie emerged victorious, while their rematch at UFC 5 resulted in a tie.
Gracie also had a noteworthy 90-minute match with Kazushi Sakuraba in the PRIDE Fighting Championships, which was halted by a corner stoppage.
Royce Gracie’s impact on MMA cannot be denied. He has been welcomed into the UFC Hall of Fame and praised by several different organizations for his work. Even though Gracie has retired, his influence is still felt by martial artists all over the globe.
The Importance of Jiu-Jitsu in UFC
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s influence on the Ultimate Fighting Championship is undeniable. All Thanks to the strategies developed by Helio Gracie, which allow a lighter and slimmer person to triumph over bigger and more powerful adversaries.
This has made BJJ very popular among not just experts but also everyday martial arts practitioners. During the early years of UFC, wrestling, and BJJ were the leading forms of martial arts, which reveals the importance of grappling on the ground.
The Gracie family, particularly Royce Gracie, has been instrumental in popularizing BJJ in the UFC. Royce’s dominance in the UFC’s golden age led to a surge of fighters flocking to learn from the Gracie family.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu became the go-to discipline for a large number of fighters, with Gracie himself winning three of the first four UFC tournaments. This period marked the peak for the Gracie family and the martial art they made famous.
However, the relevance of BJJ in modern MMA has been on a decline. As the sport evolved, fighters started to learn how to defend themselves
The UFC has been a great stage for many successful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners to demonstrate their talents and create a name for themselves in the realm of mixed martial arts.
The list of the best Jiu-Jitsu UFc Fighters includes Anderson Silva, Demian Maia, Jacare Souza, Ronaldo Souza, Ryan Hall, Charles Oliveira, Nate Diaz, Tony Ferguson, Brian Ortega, and the esteemed Royce Gracie.
They have all demonstrated remarkable skills in jiu-jitsu, helping push the martial art forward in the UFC.
They train and dedicate their lives to the art of jiu-jitsu, which has led to wins and influenced the way the sport is perceived and practiced today. From the early days of Royce Gracie, who introduced the power of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to the UFC, to the current champions like Charles Oliveira, these fighters have left an indelible mark on the sport.
Their accomplishments prove jiu-jitsu’s effectiveness in MMA and inspire others to try it. The UFC’s continued evolution will make jiu-jitsu part of MMA’s ongoing enrichment.
Recommended: Refrain from allowing the choice between MMA and BJJ to keep you from reaching your full potential. This comprehensive article compares and contrasts MMA and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu to help you choose the best option. Click here to learn more!
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Is Considered the Best Jiu-Jitsu Fighter in the UFC?
Demian Maia is widely regarded as one of the top Jiu-Jitsu fighters in the UFC. His mastery of grappling and submissions has earned him the admiration of the MMA world.
Also, Charles Oliveira is a top-tier BJJ UFC fighter who has achieved remarkable success in submission fights.
Which UFC Jiu-Jitsu Fighter Has the Most Submission Wins?
Charles Oliveira holds the record for the most submission wins in UFC history.
Has Any Jiu-Jitsu Fighter Won a UFC Championship?
Several Jiu-Jitsu fighters have won UFC championships, including BJ Penn, Anderson Silva, and Charles Oliveira.
Who Is the Highest-Ranked Jiu-Jitsu Fighter in the UFC?
As per the most recent statistics, Charles Oliveira, possessing a third-degree black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, holds the title of Lightweight Champion at the present moment.
How Many UFC Fighters Are Black Belts in Jiu-Jitsu?
The amount of black belts in the UFC is not a fixed number because as fighters acquire new belts, the number has the potential to change. Notable fighters, such as Demian Maia and Charles Oliveira, are among the many black belts that compete in the UFC.