Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) in MMA

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) techniques are utilized in the majority of modern MMA fights. This is because the majority of MMA fights hit the ground and some point or another. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) is without a doubt, the ground-fighting system of choice amongst MMA fighters. That’s basically what it is – a complete ground-fighting system. It doesn’t teach striking and the takedowns are fairly weak compared to those of wrestlers and judo players but once an accomplished Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) fighter gets you down, you’re in a whole lot of trouble.

Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is highly effective at neutralizing size advantages. Royce Gracie best proved this during the early UFC competitions. There he was; this tiny little Brazilian guy, having to fight guys who were much bigger and much stronger than he was. As you may recall, the early UFC competitions weren’t what they are today. There was no weight classes, no gloves and basically no rules.

Even as the fights transpired and the larger opponents were being choked out, most people (myself included), didn’t really understand how it was happening. It took a few UFC tournaments before people started catching on and ever since then, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has become one of the most respected martial arts. Mission accomplished for the Gracie family!

The Orgin of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ)

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) was originally developed from Judo. A man by the name of Mitsuyo Maeda (a judoka) was sent from Japan to countries around the world to popularize the art by giving demonstrations and accepting challenges from masters of other fighting arts. He eventually made his way to Brazil in 1914 and since then, judo was separated from Jiu-Jitsu in it’s training regime and goals.

Ranking System

The adult ranking system in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) goes from ..

1) white belt
2) blue belt
3) purple belt
4) brown belt
5) black belt
6) black & red belt
7) red belt

It usually takes between 8-10 years for someone to obtain a black belt ranking. Belt promotion is primarily based on ability to perform in competition and against other students of the same ranking.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) in modern MMA

MMA has come a long way since those early UFC’s where it was primarily style vs. style and Brazilian Jiu- Jitsu (BJJ) reigned supreme. Nowadays, the MMA fighters are extremely well rounded. If any facet of your game is weak, your opponent will likely try to exploit it. If you’re a good striker but you’re ground game is questionable, your opponent will likely look for the takedown. If you’re not prepared to fight on the ground, you’ll be a “fish out of water” so to speak and will likely get either submitted or pounded on until the fight is stopped.

Chuck Liddell, who is easily the most popular North American MMA fighter and known for his striking ability, has a purple belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ). MMA fighters have gone from being one-dimensional brawlers to complete, well rounded gladiators and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) has played a major role in the transition.



  1. Nice writeup on BJJ, it really is something that anyone involved in MMA should really work on. Not that other styles are without merit though.