Roger Gracie, current open weight division world champion and his father Mauricio Motta Gomes.
The Absolute division in Brazilian jiu-jitsu allows competitors from all weight divisions to face each other to determine who the best BJJ competitor is regardless of weight. So smaller fighters like Mike Fowler or Andre Galvao have a shot at their larger peers like Rafael Lovato or Luiz “Big Mac” Theodoro. The matches can be really exciting as sometimes the smaller competitors’ techniques are enough to overcome the strength and weight advantages of their bigger opponents.
With the 2008 Brazilian jiu-jitsu World Championship (Mundials) coming up on June 5 through June 8 in Long Beach, California, we thought it would be a good time to take a look back at the winners of all the black belt winners in BJJ World Championship history, dating back to Rio de Janeiro’s inaugural 1996 world championship through last year’s Californian tourney.
Year First Place Winner
2007 Roger Gracie
2006 Alexandre “Xande” Ribeiro
2005 Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
2004 Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza
2003 Marcio “Pe De Pano” Cruz
2002 Marcio “Pe De Pano” Cruz
2001 Fernando “Margarida” Pontes
2000 Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros
1999 Rodrigo “Comprido” Medeiros
1998 Ze Mario
1997 Amauri Biteti
1996 Amauri Biteti
As you can see, at this elite level where the common skill level reaches an apex, the tendency is for larger opponents to come out on the top. The names above are of pretty big guys. But it should be mentioned of course that smaller competitors do still do well in open divisions, as Marcelo Garcia has won third place in the black belt absolute division of the BJJ Mundials in 2006 and 2004.
Who will win the 2008 Black Belt Absolute division? It depends on who enters, of course, but from the list above we see that there is a tendency for recent winners to win the title again. So do not be surprised if we see Roger Gracie or Xande Ribeiro with the absolute division gold medal in Long Beach.