MMA means mixed martial arts, and jiu-jitsu is one of the most important martial arts in the UFC. Although jiu-jitsu is a global sport, most UFC fighters are specifically trained in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or BJJ.
BJJ is a martial art that focuses on grappling your opponent on the ground and then submitting them if possible. In BJJ, you can choke people out, break their arms, or just never let them go until they’re so tired that they give up. Here are the six UFC fighters who are the best at jiu-jitsu overall.
1. Demian Maia
One of the most accomplished BJJ fighters in the world, Maia is also probably the best BJJ fighter in the UFC. Although Maia will probably never be a UFC champion, he’s still a tough fight for anyone in the UFC.
He’s submitted 10 people in the UFC, and even if he doesn’t submit his opponents, his BJJ skills are so feared that his opponents often refuse to go to the ground with him.
2. Ronaldo Souza
Like Maia, Souza is also another extremely accomplished BJJ fighter. Many fans will argue about whether Souza or Maia is the best BJJ fighter in the UFC, but Maia did beat Souza in a BJJ competition some years ago.
Regardless of that, Souza lives up to his nickname, Jacare, which means alligator in English. Like an alligator, if Souza gets a hold of you, he won’t let you go. Although he only has four submissions in the UFC, like Maia, his BJJ skills are so feared that many people refuse to get on the ground with him.
3. Mackenzie Dern
Unlike Maia and Souza, Dern is relatively inexperienced in the UFC. However, like those two Brazilian men, Dern is a very accomplished BJJ fighter. Her career in the UFC got sidelined after she became pregnant, but she has the skills to choke out anyone in her division.
Whether or not she’ll be a champion mainly depends on her, though, as she’s had issues making weight in the past. If she can make weight, then many fans expect her to show off her BJJ expertise and submit more women in the near future.
4. Nate Diaz
Although Diaz is known for choking out Conor McGregor in their epic back and forth fight, Diaz is also a highly skilled BJJ fighter. With nine submissions in the UFC, Diaz has done it all.
Like Maia and Souza, Diaz’s BJJ skills are very feared. Just because Diaz drops to the ground, it doesn’t mean he’s hurt and it often means he’s trying to use his BJJ skills to get a choke in. Unlike the other fighters on this list though, Diaz is also a very skilled boxer, so he doesn’t rely on just his BJJ.
5. Charles Oliveira
Oliveira isn’t as decorated in BJJ as the other people on this list are, but he’s the most accomplished submission artist in the UFC. With 13 submissions in the UFC, no other fighter has ever submitted as many people as Oliveira has.
He was able to submit all those men because of his slick BJJ skills. He may never be a champion, but whenever he fights someone and puts his BJJ skills on display, it’s quite a show.
6. Brian Ortega
Despite losing to Max Holloway in their title fight, Ortega is still one of the most fearsome BJJ fighters in his division. Not only is he a black belt in BJJ, but he’s also extremely good at using his BJJ to choke his opponents out.
In fact, the UFC measured just how strong Ortega is, and apparently, being choked by Ortega is equal to having a 365-lb man stand on your neck. Ortega is still young, so he may become a UFC champion in the future after choking someone out.