Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is a martial art that has gained worldwide recognition, largely due to its effectiveness in both self-defense and competitive sports. Over the years, numerous BJJ tournaments have emerged, showcasing the skills of practitioners from around the globe. These competitions are not just about winning but also about celebrating the art and science of BJJ. In this article, we will explore some of the most famous Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitions, their history, and memorable highlights.

1. The World Jiu-Jitsu Championship (Mundial)

The World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, commonly known as the Mundial, is the most prestigious BJJ tournament in the world. Organized by the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation (IBJJF), it was first held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, in 1996. The competition has since moved to California, USA, and continues to attract top-tier competitors from all corners of the globe.


  • 1998: The legendary rivalry between Royce Gracie and Wallid Ismail came to a head, with Ismail emerging victorious.
  • 2014: Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida made history by winning double gold (both his weight class and the absolute division) for the third consecutive year.

2. ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship

The ADCC (Abu Dhabi Combat Club) Submission Wrestling World Championship is often regarded as the Olympics of grappling. Founded in 1998 by Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan, it features competitors from various grappling arts, including BJJ, wrestling, and judo. The ADCC ruleset emphasizes submissions and positions, making it a unique challenge even for seasoned BJJ practitioners.


  • 2003: Ricardo Arona’s epic battles and subsequent victory in the absolute division.
  • 2009: Marcelo Garcia’s impressive performance, securing his fourth ADCC title despite moving up a weight class.

3. Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship (Pan Ams)

The Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship, or Pan Ams, is one of the largest and most competitive BJJ tournaments outside Brazil. Established in 1995 by the IBJJF, it serves as a key qualifier for the World Championship and is held annually in the United States.


  • 2012: Andre Galvao’s domination in the black belt divisions, showcasing his impeccable technique and strategy.
  • 2019: The rise of new talent like Kaynan Duarte, who won his weight class and the absolute division.

4. European Jiu-Jitsu Championship

The European Jiu-Jitsu Championship, also known as the Europeans, is another major IBJJF event. Held in Lisbon, Portugal, since 2004, it is the premier BJJ tournament in Europe and attracts competitors from all over the continent and beyond.


  • 2010: Roger Gracie’s return to the competition scene, where he displayed his signature crushing pressure and control.
  • 2018: Ffion Davies became the first Welsh black belt to win a gold medal at the Europeans.

5. Brazilian Nationals (Brasileiro)

The Brazilian Nationals, or Brasileiro, is one of the oldest and most respected BJJ tournaments in Brazil. Since its inception in 1994, it has been a proving ground for many of the sport’s greatest athletes.


  • 2008: Rodolfo Vieira’s breakout performance, winning both his weight class and the absolute division.
  • 2016: Monique Elias’s impressive run through the women’s divisions, solidifying her status as one of the top female competitors.

The Art of BJJ: More Than Just a Sport

These competitions not only highlight the skill and dedication of BJJ practitioners but also play a crucial role in the sport’s development and popularity. Each tournament has its own unique history and memorable moments that contribute to the rich tapestry of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. For those who are passionate about the sport, understanding the significance of these events helps deepen their appreciation for the art of BJJ.

Moreover, BJJ is often referred to as “human chess” because of the strategic thinking required to excel. This nickname underscores the intellectual aspect of the sport, where practitioners must think several moves ahead to outmaneuver their opponents. To explore why Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is often called human chess


By participating in or following these BJJ tournaments, practitioners and fans alike can witness the evolution of techniques, the emergence of new talent, and the enduring spirit of competition that defines Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. These events continue to inspire and shape the future of BJJ, ensuring that it remains a dynamic and ever-evolving martial art.

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