The Top BJJ Practitoners in The World of MMA

There are some great BJJ practioners out there.  Many of them have chosen a career in mixed martial arts and many of them have faired very well.  However, the transfer is not easy and MMA is a different baby than jiu jitsu.  If you don’t believe me try taking punshed to the face while working for your submissions.  Some guys have been very successful.  Any time I give a list I am sure to make notable omissions.  Any omissions are out of my ignorance and not simply a bad ranking.  Ranking jiu jitsu practioners in MMA is difficult because of weight class divisions.  However, I will rank them by overall success in MMA, potential to be a champ and jiu jitsu credentials in the MMA world.

 

1.       Demian Maia – The UFC middleweight contender may not be the best in the world at jiu-jit-su, but he has done very well in MMA and is always a submission threat.

2.        Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza – He has done well in MMA and is a legend on the ground

3.       Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira – His MMA career merits him a top spot.

4.        Royce Gracie

5.        Ricardo Almeida

6.        Rousimar Palhares

7.        Jake Shields

8.       Shinya Aoki

9.       Vinny Magalhes – The TUF 8 cast member is a stud on the ground and as of now he is NOT better than Nogueira

10.   Robert Drysdale – I was hesitant to put him on this list because he just started in MMA, but he very well may be the best BJJ practitioner in the world right now

11.    Roger Gracie

12.   Waggney Fabiano

13.   Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro

14.    Fabricio Werdum

15.   Dean Lister

16.    Dustin Hazelett

17.    Nate Marquardt

18.    Thales Leites

19.   B.J. Penn

20.   Nate Diaz

21.   Frank Mir

22.   Gabriel Gonzaga

23.   Ricardo Arona

24.   Rani Yahya

25.   Renato “Babalu” Sobral

26.   Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

27.   Andre Galvao

28.   Vitor Belfort

29.   Marcio Cruz

30.   Jeff Monson

31.   Mark Kerr

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Breaking Down the UFC Middleweight Division

The Champion: Anderson Silva

The Top Contender: ?

The Next Tier:

·         Yushin Okami

·         Nate Marquardt

·         Michael Bisping

·         Dan Henderson

·         Demian Maia

·         Thales Leites

·         Patrick Cote

·         Chael Sonnen

 

On the Rise: 

·         Demian Maia

·         Michael Bisping

 

Other Notables:

·         Denis Kang

·         Rousimar Palhares

·         Martin Kampmann

·         Chris Leben

·         Ricardo Almeida

·         Nate Quarry

·         Jason MacDonald

·         Wilson Gouveia

·         Goran Reljic

·         Dan Miller

·         Dean Lister

·         Kendall Grove

·         Alan Belcher

·         Ed Herman

·         Jorge Rivera

·         Alessio Sakara

·         C.B. Dolloway

·         Mike Massenzio

·         Matt Horwich

·         Jake Rosholt

·         Amir Sadollah

 

Scheduled Fights:

·         Nate Loughran vs. Tim Credeur at UFC Fight Night 16 on December 10

·         Jason MacDonald vs. Wilson Gouveia at TUF 8 Finale on December 13

·         Yushin Okami vs. Dean Lister at UFC 92 on December 27

·         C.B. Dolloway vs. Mike Massenzio at UFC 92 on December 27

·         Denis Kang vs. Alan Belcher at UFC 93 on January 17

 

Match Ups I’d Like to See:

·         Yushin Okami vs. Anderson Silva

·         Thales Leites vs. Rousimar Palhares

·         Demian Maia vs. Michael Bisping

 

Other Thoughts:

·         The UFC Middleweight division is very, very underrated!  I believe it is because of Anderson Silva’s dominance.  The middleweight division does not have a clear number 1 contender, but from top to bottom I would put this division with any.  Albeit, the UFC’s competitors have some middleweight talents in the likes of guys like Gegard Mousasi, Jacare, Vitor Belfort, Matt Lindland, Jorge Santiago,and  Kazuo Misaki.  Not to mention the few solid middleweights from EliteXC such as Robbie Lawler, Joey Villasenor, Scott Smith, Frank Shamrock and Benji Radach.  The UFC is sure to pick some of those guys up

·         Rumor has it the UFC is in negotiations with top middleweight Yoshihio Akiyama.  I do not know if they call pull him away from DREAM and Sengoku, but that would be a huge add. 

·         The middleweight division is growing with adds like signing Denis Kang, the move of WEC’s division which will add Chael Sonnen and Jake Rosholt as well as guys like Aaron Simpson and Danillo Vilefort likely to come over.

·         Paulo Filho will not be in the UFC…yet.

·         TUF 9 will feature middleweight coaches with Michael Bisping being a lock.  The other names being thrown around are Dan Henderson, Rich Franklin, Nate Marquardt and even Demian Maia

MMABlog’s Middleweight MMA Rankings

The middleweights were hard to rank down towards the last 10.  Sorry if I left some good guys out.

Rank

Name

Organization

Next Fight

1

Anderson Silva

UFC

 Cote (#12), 9/25

2

Paulo Filho

UFC

Sonnen (#16) 11/3

3

Rich Franklin

UFC

Next Fight at LHW

4

Dan Henderson

UFC

Next Fight at LHW

5

Robbie Lawler

EliteXC?

 

6

Kazuo Misaki

Strikeforce

1/4

7

Nate Marquardt

UFC

 

8

Matt Lindland

Affliction

Sobral (LHW) ) 1/24

9

Yushin Okami

UFC

Lister (NR), 12/27

10

Gegard Mousasi

DREAM

Belfort (#25,) 1/24

11

Thales Leites

UFC

McFedries (NR), 9/25

12

Patrick Cote

UFC

A. Silva (#1), 9/25

13

Michael Bisping

UFC

 

14

Yoshihiro Akiyama

 

 

15

Ronaldo “Jacare” de Sousa

DREAM

 

16

Chael Sonnen

UFC

Filho (#2) 11/3

17

Demian Maia

UFC

Quarry (#18), 11/15

18

Nate Quarry

UFC

Maia (#17), 11/15

19

Joey Villasenor

EliteXC?

 

20

Cung Le

Strikeforce

 

21

Jorge Santiago

 

 

22

Chris Leben

UFC

 

23

Jason Macdonald

UFC

 

24

Martin Kampman

UFC

 

25

Vitor Belfort

Affliction

Mousasi (#10) 1/24

 

Others Considered: Ricardo Almeida, Rousimar Palhares, Dean Lister, Jason “Mayhem” Miller, Frank Trigg

Gegard Mousasi Wins DREAM Middleweight Grand Prix

Some have suggested that the DREAM 6 card was the best fight card put together this year from top to bottom and certainly the best Japanese card put together since PRIDE’s collapse.  The middleweight grand prix was not a disappointment.  The semi-finals consisted of Zelg Galesic vs. Ronaldo “Jacare” de Sousa and Melvin Manhoef vs. Gegard Mousasi.   The Galesic vs. Jacare fight went as expected.  I expected Jacare to make quick work of Galesic and lock in a submission victory.  Jacare locked up one of the quickest armbars I have ever seen.   Jacare was into the finals. 

    Melvin Manhoef is an amazing striker with serious KO power.  Mousasi is a very well roudned fighter and I am sure wanted this fight on the ground.  It is hard to believe that Gegard is 23 years old and certainly the future of the middleweight divison.  That fight was predictable as Mousasi wanted to get the fight to the ground.  It did not take long for Gegard to lock in a triangle choke.  Manhoef picked him up and tried to slam him a la Rampage vs. Arona, but it didn’t work.  Mousasi locked in the triangle and Manhoef was forced to tap. 

  In the finals Jacare got the take down early and landed into half guard.  He appeared to be doing well and then postured up to land some punches and Mousasi through a beautiful upkick that nailed Jacare square in the face and knocked him out cold.  And that is how Gegard Mousasi became the DREAM middleweight grand prix champion.

DREAM 6 Quick Results

Middleweight Grand Prix Semi-Finals:

  • Gegard Mousasi def. Melvin Manhoef via submission (triangle choke) — Round 1, 1:28
  • Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza def. Zelg Galesic via submission (arm-bar) — Round 1, 1:27
  • Middleweight Grand Prix Finals:

  • Gegard Mousasi def. Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza via KO (upkick) — Round 1, 2:15
  • Non-Tournament Bouts:

  • Alistair Overeem vs. Mirko “Cro Cop” Filipovic ruled a no-contest due to knees to the groin
  • Shinya Aoki def. Todd Moore via submission (neck crank) – Round 1
  • Yoshihiro Akiyama def. Masanori Tonooka via submission (arm-bar) – Round 1
  • Hayato “Mach” Sakurai def. Kuniyoshi Hironaka via unanimous decision
  • Sergei Kharitonov def. Jimmy Ambriz via submission (strikes) – Round 1
  • Masakatsu Funaki def. Ikuhisa Minowa via submission (heel hook) – Round 1
  • Atsushi Yamamoto def. Hideo Tokoro via unanimous decision  
  • Keita Nakamura def. Adriano Martins via split decision
  • Andrews Nakahara def. Dong Sik Yoon via TKO (strikes) — Round 2
  • My DREAM 6 Predictions

    Gegard Mousasi vs. Melvin Manhoef

    This is an exciting bout.  Manhoef has great KO power, but I think in the end Mousasi is better all around and will beat Manhoef by unanimous decision, moving him onto the finals.

    Ronaldo “Jacare” de Souza vs. Zelg Galesic

    I think Jacare will prove too strong on the ground and will win by first round submission making a solid finals match between Jacare and Mousasi.

    Mirko “Cro Cop” vs. Alistair Overeem

    This bout is hyped and backed by a lot of talk.  I wonder if the smack talk by Overeem hasn’t motivated a dangerous striker.  Overeem could win this one, but I think he talked a little too much and Cro Cop is a legend and I think he wins by KO in round 2.

    Shinya Aoki vs. Todd Moore

    Aoki is a world class lightweight and I think Moor is out of his league here.  Aoki wins in round 1 by some crazy submission.

    Kuniyoshi Hironaka vs. Hayato “Mach” Sakurai

    Masakatsu Funaki vs. Ikuhisa Minowa

    Yoshihiro Akiyama vs. Masanori Tonooka

    Atsushi Yamamoto vs. Hideo Tokoro

    Sergei Kharitonov vs. Jimmy Ambriz

    Adriano Martins vs. Keita Nakamura

    Yoon Dong Sik vs. Andrews Nakahara

    Middleweight Finals: Mousasi vs. Jacare

    Best Non-UFC Fighters

    Here are the best non-UFC fighters.  This shows where the UFC is stacked and where they lack.  There competition is mainly in Affliction at heavyweight and DREAM at lightweight.  Here are the best non-UFC guys that the UFC should look to sign if possible. 

    Rank

    Heavyweight

    Light Heavy

    Middleweight

    Welterweight

    Lightweight

    1

    Fedor Emelianenko

    Antonio Rogerio Nogueira

    Paulo Filho

    Jake Shields

    Takanori Gomi

    2

    Andrei Arlovski

    Ricardo Arona

    Matt Lindland

    Carlos Condit

    Shinya Aoki

    3

    Josh Barnett

    Rafael Feijao

    Robbie Lawler

    Jay Hieron

    JZ Calvancante

    4

    Tim Sylvia

    Vladimir Matyushenko

    Kazuo Misaki

    Nick Thompson

    Eddie Alvarez

    5

    Ben Rothwell

    Babalu Sobral

    Gegard Mousasi

    Mach Sakurai

    Mitsuhiro Ishida

    6

    Mirko Cro Cop

    Tito Ortiz

    Vitor Belfort

    Mike Pyle

    Joachim Hansen

    7

    Roy Nelson

    Steve Cantwell

     “Jacare” de Sousa

     

    Tatsuya Kawajiri

    8

    Aleks Emelianenko

    Brian Stann

    Jason Miller

     

    Josh Thomson

    9

    Antonio Silva

     

    Melvin Manhoef

     

    Gilbert Melendez

    10

    Alistair Overeem

     

    Murilio Rua

     

    Vitor Ribeiro

    11

     

     

    Cung Le

     

    Jamie Varner

    12

     

     

    Denis Kang

     

    Ryan Schultz

    13

     

     

    Joey Villasenor

     

    KJ Noons

    14

     

     

    Frank Shamrock

     

    Nick Diaz

    15

     

     

    Yoshihiro Akiyama

     

    Caol Uno

    16

     

     

    Jorge Santiago

     

     

    17

     

     

    Chael Sonnen