In recent years, it seems like wrestling has overtaken Jiu Jitsu as the most effective style of grappling MMA, but there are still a lot of great Jiu Jitsu fighters in MMA and even a few world champions.
Here is a list of fighters that have the best Jiu Jitsu in MMA. We’ll go through the fighters who we think have the best BJJ in the UFC, and then give a couple honorable mentions of the best Jiu Jitsu from other MMA promotions.
If we’re talking about who has the best Jiu Jitsu in MMA, you have to put Ryan Hall on that list. Chances are you’ve probably checked out Ryan Hall instructional video, so you know how skilled of a grappler he is.
Ryan is a former BJJ world champion and ADCC medalist with an overall MMA record of 9-2. He was the winner of the TUF 22 tournament in 2015 and since then has gone 5-1 in the UFC.
It may seem odd that he’s only fought six times in seven years, but that isn’t Ryan’s fault. He has been one of the most avoided fighters in the UFC. Nobody in the featherweight or lightweight division has wanted to deal with Hall’s ground game, especially after he hit a spectacular Imanari roll into a heel hook on MMA legend BJ Penn.
Hopefully we get to see a more active Ryan Hall in the future and see him display his great ground game.
Mackenzie Dern is the only female fighter on the roster who has won both an ADCC and IBJJF world championship. When it comes to Jiu Jitsu, no other female fighter in the UFC is on her level.
Dern currently has a MMA record of 11-2 with seven wins by submission. She could have had more than that, but Mackenzie has been trying to develop her striking game.
This decision to focus on her striking more has led to some decision wins and a couple losses, but when Mackenzie does use her incredible Jiu Jitsu game, she looks almost untouchable.
At 28, Dern is still developing her MMA game and we still haven’t seen the best out of her. If she can put her striking together to go along with her world class Jiu Jitsu, Mackenzie could be a champion.
For the last two decades, Demian Maia has been regarded as the best BJJ athlete in MMA. Maia has had a twenty one year fighting career with fifteen of them taking place in the UFC.
Over his career, Maia proved time and time again why many consider his Jiu Jitsu the best in the business – he has made top level MMA fighters look like complete beginners on the ground.
He routinely showed he could cut through their guards like butter, take their backs, and lock in an RNC. Unfortunately all good things must come to an end and at 44, Maia is set to retire after his next fight.
Demian is a legend in MMA and will be remembered for his all time great ground game.
Brian “T-City” Ortega has to be included on any best Jiu Jitsu in MMA list. He is a product of Gracie HQ in Torrance CA, he has trained BJJ since he was just thirteen years old.
Training directly under Jiu Jitsu’s first family, Ortega has developed an extremely well-rounded Jiu Jitsu game. In his fifteen wins, Ortega has submitted seven of his opponents.
Anytime you watch Brian Ortega fight, you are likely to see him display his affinity for grappling. Every technique that Brian does on the ground is technically flawless.
Unfortunately, Ortega’s only two losses came in title matches, but he’s only getting better as a fighter as time goes on.
The reigning UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Glover Teixeira, has been a fan favorite for years. He was finally able to break through his ceiling and became champion at 42 years old.
While Teixeira is known for his striking, he is a high level grappler – a part of his game that he has really displayed during his current six fight win streak.
Four of those six wins were by submission, which included submitting Jan Blachowicz to win the title. Glover may be forty two, but he’s having the best performances of his career.
Last but not least is the reigning and defending UFC Lightweight Champion, Charles Oliveira. Charles holds the records in the UFC for the most finishes (18) and the most submission wins(15).
His Jiu Jitsu in MMA is incredible, being especially dangerous from his guard or on top. Strangling some of the best fighters of the last decade with his patented guillotine choke and RNC.
A lot of people thought Oliveira was good, but never would be a champion. Do Bronx have proven all of his doubters wrong and been able to advance his abilities to another level.
If Oliveira can continue to retain his title, he will no doubt be considered an all-time great fighter.
Best BJJ outside of the UFC
The UFC isn’t the only promotion that has some great Jiu Jitsu fighters. Here are two fighters with the best BJJ in MMA outside of the UFC.
Garry Tonon was already considered one of the best submission grapplers in the world and is now taking over in MMA. Tonon signed with One Championship in 2017 and made his MMA debut in 2018 with a TKO win.
At first, Tonon seemed to be trying to develop his striking skills in his fights, but quickly went back to his roots. Using his beautiful Jiu Jitsu and wrestling that the BJJ community has been watching for years, he has had a very successful MMA career thus far.
Tonon is currently 6-1 with three of his wins by submission. His recent loss to Thanh Le does highlight the limitations of relying too heavily on Jiu Jitsu against an opponent who is well versed in dealing with grapplers.
You cannot have a list of the best Jiu Jitsu in MMA without mentioning the Japanese legend Shinya Aoki. Shinya has displayed some incredible Jiu Jitsu for the last two decades.
He is dangerous everywhere – both on top and especially on bottom. Shinya has won a mind-boggling 31 of his 47 wins in MMA by submission. He is one of the very first fighters to hit a gogoplata from the mount in an MMA fight.
At 38, the MMA veteran is as good as he’s ever been and is only getting better.
All of these Jiu Jitsu based fighters are not only phenomenal grapplers, but all around great fighters. Any time you see one of these fighters walk into a match, their opponent’s know not to mess around with them on the ground.
Let us know what you think of the list in the comments, and give us your own list if you’d like. We’d love to see how our list matches up with our readers!