2011 BJJ World Championship: The Year of Opportunity

Rodolfo Vieira GF Team
Rodolfo Vieira of Team GF won the heavyweight and absolute division at the 2011 Pan Jiu-Jitsu Tournament.

Do you feel it? The collective temperature of the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community has been rising recently. The 2011 BJJ World Championship is just 2 weeks away. The BJJ blogosphere is busy documenting their preparation, anxiety, and excitement for the event. You can almost smell the sweat and exertion of competitors in musky gyms from far corners of the globe.

The BJJ World Championship perennially promises glory and delivers tales of triumph but this year feels different. There are always newcomers striving to dethrone the seasoned, battle-hardened champions, but the field seems a little more ripe with possibility for aspiring jiu-jitsu fighters this year because many veterans we normally expect to see on the podium at the end of the day will not participate. Here is a quick run down of some we do not expect to see, in no particular order:

  • Reigning absolute and super heavy weight champion Roger Gracie may not compete, according to this article from GracieMag. Roger appears to be healing from a leg injury. This tweet from Kyra Gracie suggests he is saving himself for an MMA fight on the horizon.
  • Saulo Ribeiro (Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu) is recovering from shoulder surgery and will not compete, as per our conversation with him a few weeks ago on our show.
  • Xande Ribeiro (Ribeiro Jiu-Jitsu) has rib problems right now, according to GracieMag.
  • Braulio Estima (Gracie Barra) is recuperating from spinal surgery according to GracieMag.
  • Fernando Augusto, who is better known as “Terere“, doesn’t appear to be participating. Though this video from February contains quotes from Terere himself saying he planned on competing at the World Championship this year after several years of absence, this popular and charismatic fighter is not registered to compete. Multiple inquiries I’ve made to learn more have not provided any new information.
  • Andre Galvao (Atos Jiu-Jitsu) suggested in our interview with him recently that he is on the fence about whether he will participate.
  • Tarsis Humphreys (Alliance) is undergoing knee surgery according to GracieMag.
  • Lucio “Lagarto” Rodriguez (Gracie Barra) is unable to travel into the United States after being denied a visa from the US Consultate, according to GracieMag.

Stalwart fighters these names may be, but if they are not present it will be time for new BJJ athletes to earn worldwide recognition. The door is open for ferocious competitors like the newly-come-of-age forces of nature Rodolfo Vieira (GF Team) and Bernardo Faria (Alliance) to impose themselves in their divisions as well as the absolute division.

What do you think? Who are your favorites in the respective weight divisions and the absolute?

Remember: If you cannot be in California for the World Championship June 2-5, BudoVideos will be streaming the event online! (Full disclosure: I’ll be part of the broadcast team again!). If you can be there, come hang out and have a coffee with us!

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