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BJJ Legends: Renzo Gracie


Renzo Gracie is a 6th degree Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Carlos Gracie Sr. and is one of the most world-renowned coaches in BJJ.

He is the owner and head coach of the Renzo Gracie academy in New York City, home to some of the top competitors and coaches in the world.

Renzo Gracie Biography and Early Career

Renzo Gracie was born in 1967 in Rio de Janeiro and started training Jiu Jitsu as an infant. Renzo took his first Vale Tudo fight at the age of 25 and quickly made a name for himself as a skilled submission artist in no-holds barred fighting, the precursor to modern MMA.

He eventually moved to the United States to continue his competition pursuits, and opened up the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City.

Renzo Gracie in MMA Competition

Renzo Gracie had a successful career competing in various Mixed Martial Arts promotions in Brazil, the USA, and Japan. He made his UFC debut at age 43, well past his prime, and lost to Matt Hughes via TKO. 

Renzo Gracie MMA Never one to quit, Renzo returned to the cage again on June 7th 2018 in the ONE Championship MMA promotion, and defeated opponent Yuki Kondo via rear naked choke in the second round.

Although his competitive career was less focused on BJJ compared to other world-class black belts, Renzo still boasts BJJ victories over a few top names in grappling, including Jean Jacques Machado and Marcio Feitosa.

Additionally, according to his official record, Renzo was never submitted in sport grappling tournaments, only losing via points and advantages.

Renzo Gracie Top Students

Although famous as a fierce competitor, Renzo also boasts an impressive record coaching the top athletes in both BJJ and MMA, as well as producing world-class BJJ minds such as John Danaher.

On his roster list of successful students are names such as Rodrigo Gracie, Georges St-Pierre, Matt Serra, Ricardo Almeida, and Chris Weidman.

Additionally, the so-called ‘Danaher Death Squad’ crew lineage comes from Renzo Gracie – including the biggest names in No Gi grappling such as Gary Tonon, Gordon Ryan, and Eddie Cummings.

Renzo Gracie Legacy

Renzo Gracie’s legacy on Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Mixed Martial Arts cannot be understated. 

Renzo was one of the original legends in MMA, and his lineage and teaching skills are reflected in the latest generation of top BJJ and MMA competitors.

Jordan Fernandez

Jordan Fernandez 

Jordan is a 10th Planet Purple Belt, Certified Strength and Conditioning Specialist, and personal trainer. When not on the mats or at the gym, he writes about all things BJJ and fitness and aggressively stretches and foam rolls on the living room floor.

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