The following standings are in no particular order and they are more based on current activity. So for example, there may be a competitor out there that is better than some of the following mentioned athletes, but if they have not been particularly active in major no-gi tournaments in the last two years, then they will not be mentioned.
Cyborg Abreu is the current absolute ADCC champion – the most prestigious title in all of submission grappling. But it’s not the title alone that really gives him a spot on this list, but the fact that he had to defeat Marcus Almeida Buchecha, the current two-time absolute champion in gi jiu-jitsu. Almeida had defeated Cyborg in their weight class division in this ADCC, but Cyborg was able to get his revenge in the absolute. Additionally he is a three-time no-gi world champion.
In the last few years, Marcus Almeida “Buchecha” has become famous for his performance in the gi - especially with his battles against Rodolfo Vieira and his dominating performance against Roger Gracie. However, many overlook his accomplishments in no-gi. In addition to winning his weight class and winning silver in the absolute at the 2013 ADCC, Buchecha is also a six-time no-gi world champion, winning his weight division and absolute in 2011. Since he is only 21 years old, there is no doubt that he still has plenty of time to get all the titles he wants.
Rubens Charles, aka “Cobrinha”, is one of the most experienced athletes on this list. Not only is he a four-time world champion in gi, he is also a four-time world champion in no-gi. This year, he was able to achieve one of his most ambitious goals - to once again defeat Rafael Mendes after so many years of hard fought matches against the younger rival. It was in the 2013 ADCC in Beijing that this hard-fought goal came to fruition. No one deserves more to be on this list than Cobrinha.
The son of Rickson Gracie is probably one of the most underrated no-gi grapplers in the world today. Although he is not a consistent competitor, he is able to jump into any tournament at any time and produce good results. This year’s ADCC is one example of this ability. Kron was able to defeat some top competitors like JT Torres and Otavio Sousa to win the gold. Hopefully in the near future he will choose to compete more often so we can see him reach his full potential.
Romulo has been very busy these last few years. In addition to being a multiple-time gi world champion, Romulo is also the 2009 no-gi world champion. However, this year he was able to conquer the ADCC title in Beijing and defeated several very dangerous opponents in the process, such as Keenan Cornelius and Rafael Lovato Jr.. Being able to come out on top against such opponents is hopefully only a taste of what Barral can do in no-gi.