Champion Vs. Champion: Jiu Jitsu Battles

With the UFC's recent acquisition of Strikeforce, there are plenty of rumors and unanswered questions floating around. Many expect once the Showtime deals ends, Strikeforce will be swallowed up similar to the way the WEC merger was done. If that does happen, I imagine that belts will need to be unified. We're going to go ahead and give you the breakdown of what these fights would look like. But since we are jiu jitsu fanatics, we'll breakdown what a grappling session would look like between champions.

You could argue that the UFC is the number one promotion so, naturally, most of their champions would beat the champions from the second rate promotion. I agree with most of it but there are some great fights that I would love to see come out of this. Overeem vs Velasquez. You can't tell me that wouldn't be a great fight. Then there would be a fight like Anderson Silva vs. Ronaldo Souza. We've already seen what Anderson does to great jiu jitsu guys. Well, besides make a fool of himself and avoid them like the plague.

So, we're going to even the playing field a little bit. Let's breakdown some hypothetical jiu jitsu matches between champions. Remove the four oz. gloves and tie up that gi, let's see which promotion comes out on top in these fantasy match-ups. Please ignore the fact that I described two sweaty men rolling around in a gi as a "fantasy".

Cain Velasquez vs Alistair Overeem

As I said earlier, maybe my favorite fight of the bunch. Well, as an MMA bout. Both of these guys are incredible strikers which completely overshadows their ground ability. Overeem, a golden glory trained fighter, holds belts in Dream, K-1, and Strikeforce. Overeem submits HuntHe has racked up quite a few impressive KO's during his stint in MMA but also has accumulated 19 submission wins during that time. He will be facing a brown belt in "GJJ". You read that right. Cain Velasquez is a brown belt under Dave Camarillo in Geurilla Jiu Jitsu. According to Camarillo, Geurilla Jiu Jitsu is a hybrid of Judo and Jiu Jitsu. Although Cain holds a brown belt in it, he hasn't ever had to use it. He currently has no submission wins to his name in professional mixed martial arts.

This one is relatively easy. We have to pick "The 'Reem" by sub in this one. Cain just hasn't displayed enough in his bouts to prove that he has what it takes to beat Strikeforce's champ. He may have the wrestling to be able to hold Alistair down and win on points but nobody likes it when you win on points. Just ask Jon Fitch. First round for Strikeforce.

Mauricio "Shogun" Rua vs Dan Henderson

This one is hard to call. Considering Dan has 2 submission wins in his career and Shogun has 1, not much to work off of as far as great BJJ displays. Rua submits RandlemanAlthough Shogun has 1 submission win, it was a very nice one. At Pride 32, Rua faced Kevin Randleman and was able to catch him in a very slick kneebar to get the victory. Subbing Randleman is not the most prestigious grappling award in MMA, but it still showed his high level of technical ability. Henderson has wrestled his way to the top in his MMA career. As of lately, he's relying more on that "H-Bomb" than he is any kind of grappling.

This one goes to the UFC. Shogun has the ability to sub Henderson in a straight grappling match. Again, there could be a situation in which Henderson could maintain top position for points, but I don't see that happening here. Shogun by rear naked choke and once Dan passes out, maybe a soccer kick to the dome for good old time sake.

Anderson Silva vs Ronaldo "Jacare" Souza

This one might be the easiest of all to decide. "The spider" is no white belt but you're facing Jacare, man. Jacare alligator crawlJacare has fought in multiple ADCC submission wrestling championships and has faced the likes of Roger Gracie. Souza is widely considered one of the greatest BJJ practitioners of all time. This isn't to discount Silva's ability though. The guy is a black belt under the Nogeuira brothers. Not something easy to come by despite what Chael Sonnen might want us all to believe.

So eliminate front kicks and head movement from the equation and Silva doesn't stand much of a chance. Unless he has Steven Seagal in his corner for the match. Then Jacare is toast. But assuming the two's relationship has dissolved after UFC 126, Strikeforce takes the 2-1 lead.

GSP vs Nick Diaz

This is the closest thing we have to a classic striker vs grappler match-up. Maybe the best display of bad guy vs good guy also. Everyone is very aware that GSP is an outstanding wrestler. Overall, the guy is just a freakishly good athlete. Training with striking coaches like Freddie Roach and training jiu jitsu under Renzo Gracie has turned GSP into some sort of MMA wrecking machine. He displayed some of his submission game against Dan Hardy. GSP had Hardy in trouble multiple times but Hardy was a game opponent and seemed focused on not tapping, no matter the cost. GSP submission attempt on Dan HardyHe will be facing another Gracie trained fighter in Nick Diaz.Diaz is a black belt under Cesar Gracie and trains out of Stockton, CA at Gracie's gym.

It saddens us to say this, but the "wrestler" wins in this one. Although, we are consoled by the fact that this wrestler is just incredibly good at everything. Nick Diaz has faced decent competition but no one in the same class as GSP. And if GSP can avoid Penn's submission attempts for multiple rounds, I don't see any reason he couldn't do the same to Diaz. Diaz is pretty slick on the ground but his weed smoking training regiment won't help him in this one. GSP pulls out the win on points and we're all tied up again.

Frank Edgar vs. Gilbert Melendez

The last matchup of the champions is a great one. Edgar has proven himself to be quite a force in the lightweight division while Melendez, although very good, hasn't quite faced the caliber of fighter the Edgar has. Although when it comes to a jiu jitsu match, we know that Melendez survived five rounds with Shinya Aoki. Oh yeah, Edgar survived 10 rounds with Penn. Well, both men train with Gracies too. Edgar at Renzo Gracie's academy and Melendez with Cesar Gracie and the Diaz brothers.

So, in honor of some of the recent UFC decisions and in honor of both promotions, this fight is declared a draw. Neither man has really shown more jiu jitsu prowess than the other. Both are brown belts at this point and the fight is just to close to call.

And the winner is...

Alright so the battle of the promotions ended in a 2-2-1 draw. Very diplomatic of us don't you think. So, what do you think of our match ups and how they would play out? Is the merger going to be a good thing or a bad thing? Let us know in the comments below!

If you liked this article, be sure to check out the original article at BJJ in MMA and go like us on facebook

Log In Sign Up

Log In Sign Up

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior users will need to choose a permanent username, along with a new password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

I already have a Vox Media account!

Verify Vox Media account

Please login to your Vox Media account. This account will be linked to your previously existing Eater account.

Please choose a new SB Nation username and password

As part of the new SB Nation launch, prior MT authors will need to choose a new username and password.

Your username will be used to login to SB Nation going forward.

Forgot password?

We'll email you a reset link.

If you signed up using a 3rd party account like Facebook or Twitter, please login with it instead.

Forgot password?

Try another email?

Almost done,

By becoming a registered user, you are also agreeing to our Terms and confirming that you have read our Privacy Policy.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.


You must be a member of to participate.

We have our own Community Guidelines at You should read them.




Choose an available username to complete sign up.

In order to provide our users with a better overall experience, we ask for more information from Facebook when using it to login so that we can learn more about our audience and provide you with the best possible experience. We do not store specific user data and the sharing of it is not required to login with Facebook.