Best Grappler in MMA: ‘Jacare’ Souza or Roger Gracie?

Riccardo Ammendolia / September 4, 2012 - 7:10pm

In mixed martial arts, the expression “world champion” or “Abu Dhabi champion” is heard once in a while.

But when you hear the expression “best in the word” or “best grappler on the planet,” cue Joe Rogan. The talk really should be for two guys: Ronaldo “Jacare” Souza and Roger Gracie.

Why? Well, both of these competitors were not just world champions, but they both were absolute destroyers in competitions.

It’s one thing to compete and win via points in grappling, but when you can take anyone down and submit the majority of your opponents, that shows a level above and beyond all in your division.

Both Roger and “Jacare” were fighters who did just that.

Who is better of the two? That is very debatable, as both men have competed against each other on numerous occasions over the years in the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships, as well as the ADCC Submission Fighting World Championships.

“Jacare” has won the majority of times, but the one match that no hardcore grappling fan forgets took place at Tijuca Tennis Clube in Rio de Janeiro in June 2004.

Both fighters tore through their divisions and entered the absolute (open-weight) category of the World Championships.

This was the second encounter between the two as the first one took place in 2002 when they were both brown belts. Roger walked away that day with the victory in a very controversial decision, but this day, the glory belonged to “Jacare.”

The match had the entire audience on its feet, as Roger was proclaimed the Gracie family’s next big name, and “Jacare” was terrorizing competitors all the way from Manaus.

When the two fought, they exchanged several positions and attacks, but the crafty Roger was able to secure an arm lock halfway through the match.

Roger, being well over 6-feet-tall, arched his entire body into the submission and “Jacare” had no escape. Rather than tap, he just resisted the submission, severely injuring his arm.

His arm actually looked shattered, but rather than give up, “Jacare” pulled his limp arm out of the hold and tucked it into his kimono belt.

The match continuedvand a one-armed “Jacare” won via points!

Who would win the rematch in MMA? I don’t know for sure. But one thing I know is “Jacare” definitely has an advantage, with a number of key victories, experience, and most importantly, the psychological aspect.  With both men now on the Strikeforce roster in the 185-pound division, this BJJ dream rematch may just happen in the MMA realm.

Who do you think would win?