Each year, the sport of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu continues to develop, grow and slowly become a more professional martial art. There are constant adjustments to the outlook of the competitions as they become better run, cleaner and stricter on conduct rules. In the finals, there are now always three referees, there are giant television screens to see the time and points on each match, and at black belt there is the rule where there must always be an athlete wearing a white gi while the other wears a blue gi. This continued evolution helps the competitors on the mats and the fans who watch them from the stands.

Besides improvements for competitors and spectators at the events, there have been constant developments off the mats for the viewers who want to watch the major events but cannot attend in person. IBJJFTV and BudoVideos have highlights of each major tournament, interview the big names and cover the results. There are now radio talk shows discussing the week’s previous tournaments and other news on the jiu-jitsu scene. And now at the Pans and Worlds, anyone can order a pay-per-view live stream to watch the event from their very own computer. So, although the sport has a long way to go to become perfect, it is clear there have been many positive strides made over the last few years.

Another sign of progression in jiu-jitsu is the use of up-to-date rankings of all the active competitors. Now, not only do the competitors compete for gold medals, but they also battle for points that help improve their overall ranking. Any placing in any IBJJF tournament carries points, and the points increase from third to second to first. The major tournaments such as the Worlds, Brazilian Nationals, Europeans and Pan carry the most weight and the most points. For example, coming in first at an IBJJF Open, such as the New York Open, at brown belt will give you 27 points, but winning brown belt at the Worlds will give you 189 points. So it isn’t essential to win all the smaller tournaments, but as long as one can win the major tournaments, they are sure to move up high in the rankings.

Now, with the Worlds past us, this is the time where most check to see where they stand amongst the best in the world and if they are in or at least close to being a part of the group.

At purple belt, the No. 1-ranked competitor is Tim Spriggs of Team Lloyd Irvin. Although he wasn’t able to reach his desired World title ambitions, the Crazy 88 athlete still had a solid year in which he won the Europeans at weight and absolute and then followed that by winning the Pans and Abu Dhabi World Pro in his weight class. Following him in second was Alliance’s Fernando Andrade dos Reis, who was the weight and absolute champion at the Worlds this year.

At the end of it all, brown belt may have been the most interesting, as the rivalry between Keenan Cornelius and the Miyao brothers captivated the jiu-jitsu world in 2013 and closed in spectacular fashion as Paulo Miyao finally defeated Cornelius in the final of the absolute at the Worlds. But once the updated rankings were finally released, Cornelius still held the top spot over Paulo by a slim margin, due to his two wins over Paulo at the Europeans (where he passed the once unpassable guard of Paulo and put Joao to sleep) and at the Pans. Joao Miyao would end up fourth in the rankings behind Cornelius, his brother Paulo and the heavyweight World champion, Jackson Souza of Team CheckMat.

Finally, at black belt, Marcus “Buchecha” Almeida came out as the clear No. 1 competitor after winning both his weight and absolute at the Pan and World championships. He defeated Bernardo Faria, Andre Galvao, Rodolfo Vieira and many others in the process. It appeared in 2011 that the open weight black belt category would belong to Vieira for a long time. Even after Vieira’s first loss to Buchecha at the 2012 Worlds, many opinions didn’t change, since it was a very even match. But now, after a 9-0 shutout thrown at Vieira in the 2013 open class final, Buchecha is clearly the king of the black belts.

The super-heavyweight World champion, Bernardo Faria, stands in second place, and Vieira follows behind in third. Also, in other notables, it is interesting to see how after one loss, athletes drop. Rafael Mendes, following his loss to Augusto Mendes, dropped from sixth to eighth position and Guilherme Mendes dropped from seventh to 13th position. On the other hand, Otavio Sousa made a big jump after being in 14th only three months ago to now sit in sixth amongst all black belts.

With all of the main gi competitions completed, it should be interesting to see what happens to the no-gi rankings during no-gi Pans and Worlds. Right now, Caio Terra is the No. 1- ranked no-gi black belt, but will that change? To see all of the rankings, make sure to go to ibjjfrankings.com.

Photo: Caio Terra (Ivan Trindade/Gracie Mag)

About The Author

Gianni Grippo
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Contributor

Gianni Grippo is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Marcelo Garcia and trains at the Marcelo Garcia Academy in New York City. Besides being a big fan of the sport, Gianni is also an avid competitor and has ranked among the best in the World from blue to brown belt winning 6 IBJJF World titles and 7 Pan Championships. Still at 21, Gianni looks to continue to compete for many years to come as his main goals are to win the World championships at black belt and win the ADCC title.