Marcelo Garcia, Demian Maia and Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza are among a handful of insanely talented and decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialists who have recently made the transition to mixed martial arts.
Their skills are off the charts -- "top of the food chain" as Joe Rogan would say -- and it is clear that these grapplers are on a totally different level when their fights go to the ground.
It's a reality that has not been lost on Robert Drysdale -- perhaps the most dangerous jiu-jitsu player on the planet today. And he was born in the United States.
For close to 10 years now, Drysdale has been tearing up the world of Brazilian jiu-jitsu, winning medals and finishing some of the best in the business in countless international tournaments. Now the world champion looks to take on a new challenge ... mixed martial arts.
Earlier this year, Drysdale left his gym in Brazil to join Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada. Drysdale is familiar with the Las Vegas area and felt he needed a change of pace. In Drysdale's case, moving to "Sin City" made perfect sense.
"My family's from Vegas. I felt like I had enough of Brazil. I felt like I've done everything I wanted to do in jiu-jitsu and it was time to move on," Drysdale said. "Just training in Brazil, I was just distracted, you can get distracted very easy over there."
Drysdale didn't immediately make a run to Xtreme Couture. However, he was invited over to visit the gym. Drysdale was satisfied with how the visit went.
"I went over there and everyone was friendly, having a good time. I love the gym. Everyone over there was incredible," Drysdale said. "They offered me a job and I took it."
He is now the Pro Team jiu-jitsu instructors for one of the top MMA training facilities and on the planet. And Drysdale notes that when it comes to MMA, it was a no-brainer that he returned to the United States to train with the best.
"For MMA it was better for me to train over here. The sport was so big over here, I felt like I had to move on," Drysdale said. "Brazil is very limited professionally speaking. There was nothing else, there was nothing left to do except I felt like I had to go back to Vegas."
Drysdale wants to do the best that he can in teaching for Xtreme Couture and wants to learn just as much, too.
"I want to help as much as I can," Drysdale said. "I want to learn as much as I can, hopefully get a fight soon. I just want to get better as a teacher and as a fighter."
Although he might be a relative newcomer to MMA, he's been in the jiu-jitsu game for more than 10 years now.
"I wanted to be passionate about something I guess. I was never really good at any sports," Drysdale told MMAmania.com. "When I saw jiu-jitsu, it was starting to become really popular in Brazil."
Drysdale is indeed passionate when it comes to art.
"It's the greatest sport ever man. I just love it," Drysdale said. "Everyday, every time I train, I see something new. You never know enough, you're never satisfied with what you know. That's why I love it."
Drysdale's passion for jiu-jitsu has paid off for him in his career. Drysdale has won numerous championships, not only in Brazil, but regionally and internationally.
In the first six years that Drysdale began training, he attained his black belt. Drysdale remembers the moment very well. In fact, Drysdale wasn't expecting it at all.
"I was so tired, I wasn't really paying attention," Drysdale said. "All of the sudden, he said my name. I was like what? Everyone was smiling at me and clapping."
In 2007, Drysdale defeated Marcelo Garcia -- widely regarded as the top pound-for-pound jiu-jitsu stylist in the world -- via submission (brabo choke) in the open weight division finals to win his first Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) championship, held in Trenton, N.J.
It's tough enough even to make it into the ADCC tournament -- only 16 of the best grapplers in the world can compete. Let alone submitting a competitor the caliber of Garcia. Drysdale loves the tournament and worked hard to win the tournament last year.
"I was ready man, I was ready to go," Drysdale said. "I never felt so good. I was in shape. I was focused."
Drysdale has accomplished a lot in his 10 years in combat sports. Now that he's making the transition to MMA, the world will get an opportunity to see what Drysdale is made of.
Right now, Drysdale is in no rush to jump into the world of MMA. Instead, he's taking his time and preparing for the time when he will step in and show what he's got.
"I'm giving myself time. I want to make sure I'm ready, physically, technically and mentally," Drysdale said. "Soon enough I'll be in a fight. I'm just not rushing it."
Drysdale has also made no indication as to which MMA promotion he might end up with. When the time comes though, the fans of MMA will get a chance to witness Drysdale fight in MMA.
Note that Drysdale will appear on the next season of The Ultimate Fighter (TUF) as an assistant coach on the Frank Mir team.