The Best BJJ Team of 2008?

jacare cavalcanti fabio gurgel alliance bjj
Romero “Jacare” Cavalcanti and Fabio Gurgel, the leaders of jiu-jitsu team Alliance accepting the 1rst place team trophy at the 2008 BJJ Mundials.

Recently we asked you, The Mighty 600,000, the question Which Was the Best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Team of 2008?

As soon as I posted it I was contacted by folks asking why certain teams were on that list and others were not. I wrote back saying that there was a specific reason for putting the teams there the way I did that I would reveal soon.

Sooooo, here is why: a few weeks ago I was checking out a popular BJJ website in Brazil, and I saw that they were asking their readers to vote on who they thought the best BJJ team of the year was. I thought it would be a good time to compare the opinions of their audience and the opinions of folks who visit on such an important question!

So I copied their poll exactly, team by team, in the same order as they presented them. And the results were interesting! You can see what their audience said here. Their poll now appears to have closed, and at the time of this writing, Nova Uniao was in first place with 30.23% of the vote, Alliance was in second place with 26.16%, and Gracie Barra took third place with 14.12%.

Our results had Alliance in first place with 54% of the vote, Gracie Barra in second place with 20% of the vote, and Gracie Humaita in third place with 16%.

What does this mean? We probably have to look at a couple things. First, when you ask someone what the best jiu-jitsu team is out there, they will probably be tempted, if not sentimentally obligated, to vote for whoever they train with. So maybe people aren’t really answering the question of who the best team was but they are answering what team they wanted to be the best in 2008. Unfortunate but to be expected.

There is also simply the possibility that awareness of certain teams is different in certain parts of the world. Perhaps Nova Uniao was indeed the best, most dominant and highest performing jiu-jitsu team in the world in 2008. That is debatable but I think it is safe to say that they do not have the presence in North America that they might proportionately in Brazil where Tatame’s readership is.

Here’s another way to look at it. According to the International Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Federation in the 2008 BJJ Mundials, Alliance was the best team (as shown in the photo above), with Gracie Barra in second place and Gracie Humaita in third. Those rankings are based on the number of medals captured in the tournament. (At the bottom of this post is a list of the medalists in the black belt division of the 2008 BJJ World Championships, taken from the same page at Now of course some will argue that because the Mundials are held in the United States, it only measures the best competitors who can travel to Los Angeles. But as Kid Peligro has said, and I paraphrase, “It is the world championships; if you want to compete and find out if you are the best, you make it there. It does not matter where it is.”

So where does this leave us? Who is the best BJJ team of 2008? I don’t know. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. We can definitively say though that the audience of The FightWorks Podcast believes Alliance was the best,’s readers believe Nova Uniao was the best, and that the IBJJF states Alliance was the best.



Primeiro Caio Terra Cesar Gracie

Segundo Yusuke Honna Paraestra

Terceiro Felipe Costa Brasa

Terceiro Bruno Malfacine UGF


Primeiro Samuel Braga Gracie Barra

Segundo Dai Yoshioka Tokyo Yellowmans

Terceiro Daniel Beleza Nova União

Terceiro Philipe Freitas Equipe PH


Primeiro Rubens Charles Maciel Alliance

Segundo Bruno Frazatto Brasa

Terceiro Theodoro Canal UGF

Terceiro Mario Reis Gracie Barra


Primeiro Celso Vinicius Ryan Gracie

Segundo Lucas Lepri Alliance

Terceiro Jonatas Gurgel Jordan Team

Terceiro Michael Langui Alliance


Primeiro Sergio Morais Alliance

Segundo Willian Cooper Alliance

Terceiro Victor Estima Gracie Barra

Terceiro Otavio Souza Gracie Barra

Meio Pesado

Primeiro Andre Galvao Brasa

Segundo Braulio Estima Gracie Barra

Terceiro Murilo Santana Yamasaki Academy

Terceiro Marcel Lousada Brasa


Primeiro Alexandre Ribeiro Gracie Humaita

Segundo Alexandre Souza Gracie Florianópolis

Terceiro Tarsis Humphres Alliance

Terceiro Roberto Alencar Gracie Barra

Super Pesado

Primeiro Antonio Braga Neto Gordo JJ

Segundo Rafael Lovato Jr Gracie Humaita

Terceiro Marcel Fortuna Crolin Gracie

Terceiro Roberto Abreu BJJ Revolution Team


Primeiro Roger Gracie Gracie Barra

Segundo Leonardo Leite Brasa

Terceiro Gabriel Vella Alliance

Terceiro Eduardo Telles Nine Nine


Primeiro Alexandre Ribeiro Gracie Humaita

Segundo Roger Gracie Gracie Barra

Terceiro Andre Galvao Brasa

Terceiro Gabriel Vella Alliance



Primeiro Mirian Cerqueira UGF

Segundo Takako Abe Paraestra


Primeiro Bianca Barreto Gracie Barra America

Segundo Laurence Cousin Behring

Terceiro Leticia Ribeiro Gracie Humaita

Terceiro Jennifer Petrina Gracie Humaita


Primeiro Kyra Gracie Gracie Barra

Segundo Luana Alzuguir Barbosa JJ

Terceiro Gabriela Bermudez Gracie Humaita

Terceiro Angelica Tabor Gracie Humaita


Primeiro Hannette Staack Carlson Gracie Team

Segundo Fernando Mazzelli Agnaldo Goes

Terceiro Sophia Mc Dermott Machado Australia

Meio Pesado

Primeiro Ana Laura Cordeiro Gracie Barra

Segundo Penny Thomas Gracie Humaita

Terceiro Christina Thomas Relson Gracie


Primeiro Gabrielle Garcia Triumph

Segundo Maria do Carmo Carmen Cascagrossa

Terceiro Luciana Dias Gracie Humaita


Primeiro Kyra Gracie Gracie Barra

Segundo Ana Laura Cordeiro Gracie Barra

Terceiro Michelle Nicolini Brasa

Terceiro Sayaka Shioda AACC

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