It was a sad day for Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when Mat Hughes dismantled Royce Gracie in front of the entire MMA world at UFC 60. Hughes’ crushing first round victory seemed to settle the argument once and for all as to which was better for the UFC, wrestling or fighting. Never mind that Hughes at 32 was 7 years younger than Royce and at the peak of his career. The aging Royce, on the other hand, had only fought sporadically since his glory days a decade earlier in UFCs 1-3. BJJ purists also made the point, as they had for years, that the rules of the UFC were changed to favor wrestlers over BJJ stylists. BJJ in its essence is a real world self defense system based on the idea that a smaller person can defend themselves against someone larger and stronger until their opponent makes a mistake that will allow them to end the fight with strikes from either a dominant position or a submission. Originally points, activity, and aggression did not come into the equation. So, when the rules of MMA were changed to include things like time limits, gloves, and standing the fighters up when a referee deems them inactive on the ground it made pure Brazilian Jiu Jitsu less effective in the UFC. Despite these arguments, it was hard to argue with the results of the main event at UFC 60 and BJJ was now viewed as less effective than wrestling.
One of the great things about MMA and combat sports in general is how quickly things evolve and so too did Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Rather than go into decline, as some predicted, BJJ under went a powerful renaissance and a new, more active style better suited for success inside the Octagon emerged. KnuckleUp Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructor Quentin Rosenzweig recently described what this evolution entailed.
“Today it’s the fighters that are good at applying top pressure, actively seeking to pass their opponent’s guard, and always looking to submit their opponent who are the most successful in MMA.” KnuckleUp Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Instructor Quentin Rosenzweig
Quentin, a Brown Belt under KnuckleUp Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Head Instructor Ricardo Murgel, exemplifies this new style in his own career. He has become a submission machine on the local grappling circuit and looks to move to the next level soon. He brought up names like Demian Maia, Jose Aldo, and Roger Gracie as good examples of the new breed of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu stylists that are currently successful in MMA on a global scale. Most notable of all, he says, is Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza. Souza is the multi-time world BJJ champion who burst onto the scene in 2004 with his classic match vs. Roger Gracie. Souza’s aggressive style of BJJ has made mincemeat of a who’s who of wrestling standouts over his MMA career. Want to see how far BJJ has come since UFC 60? You’ll get the chance tomorrow night when Souza faces Chris Camozzi at UFC Fight Night 15 Machida vs. Rockhold.
If you would like to learn more about Brazilian Jiu Jitsu here at KnuckleUp, check out our schedule of classes.