Roger Gracie is a jiu jitsu black belt, regarded by many of the sport’s fans as the greatest competitor of all time. a 14x World Champion (10 of which in the black belt division) and mixed martial arts (MMA) competitor, this Gracie family representative from Rio de Janeiro, moved to London, England in his teens, opening one of the county’s biggest academies with the help of his father, Maurício Gomes. Roger Gracie is also the grandson of jiu jitsu founder Carlos Gracie and a inductee in the IBJJF Hall of Fame.
Roger started training Jiu Jitsu early in life, like most Gracies, though he didn’t actually set his mind into the sport until his late teens. According to Roger Gracie in an interview given to Graciemag a few years ago, he realized how much he wanted to become a professional jiu jitsu competitor after he spent some time in the south of Brazil, training with his uncle Rilion Gracie.
With the Gracie blood running in his veins, he quickly picked up the BJJ game very quickly winning several championships as a blue belt, including the Pan Ams and the Mundial (World Championship) in 2000. It was around this time that Roger was forced to move to London – UK to live with his father after he was involved in a police matter. Being his father himself one of the best grapplers of his generation and an excellent coach, Roger’s Jiu Jitsu progression wasn’t harmed harmed by the change and his competitive run progressed. Roger Gracie also maintained his training with uncle Carlinhos, travelling to Rio de Janeiro on many occasions to train at the Gracie Barra headquarters.
With an ever growing list of achievements in sport Jiu Jitsu, his uncle “Carlinhos” awarded Roger his black belt in 2004. A year after receiving his black belt Roger competed again in ADCC (he had competed in 2003 also as a brown belt when he got 3rd place), being victorious in both his weight and the absolute (open weight) division, submitting all 8 opponents to get both titles, this was the first time a competitor accomplished such a tremendous feat.
Roger Gracie’s first MMA fight was against the veteran Ron Waterman, whom he submitted by armbar. Ron had never been submitted before throughout his long career. He then went to fight Yuki Kondo a Japanese MMA legend and former Pancrase Champion, Roger submitted Kondo by Mata Leao (Choke). His third fight was in American soil in the prestigious Strikeforce organization, he fought another legend, Kevin Randleman, and as expected finished the fight early in the second round after showcasing some unexpected boxing skills. Just a few days after the fight Roger went on to win the Mundials (World BJJ Championships) for a record 14th time with just a few weeks to prepare for the gi competition. He submitted everyone apart from Ricardo Abreu “Demente” but still managed to win against the Nova Uniao standout with a conclusive 13×2. Roger Gracie’s career moved on to MMA after his 3rd world absolute victory, where he set the record for open weight wins in the black belt division.
Main Achievements (BJJ/Grappling)
- World Champion (2000 blue, 2001 purple, 2002 brown weight & absolute, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007 weight & absolute, 2008, 2009 weight & absolute, 2010 weight & absolute)
- Absolute Silver Medallist (2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008 – all at black belt)
- ADCC (2005 weight and the absolute*)
- European Open Champion (2005 weight & absolute)
- Pan American Champion
- Brazilian national Champion
Very recently Roger entered the Gracie Pro mat in Rio de Janeiro for a rematch with Marcus "Buchecha" Almeida years after their first clash in Metamoris, showing why he’s considered the best grappler in jiu-jitsu history.
Roger Gracie and “Buchecha”, the only men who won the IBJJF world championship a record 10 times as black belts, showed a lot of respect early in the match. “Buchecha" went for a pair or takedowns, but Roger successfully stopped them.
Roger changed his strategy after both fighters were given penalties, pulling for a half guard and immediately sweeping “Buchecha" and taking his back. The crowd erupted as Roger went for a lapel choke, forcing his opponent to tap at the 6:52 mark.
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