5. Alexandre Ribeiro
Xande, as many call him, is already known as a decorated veteran of the sport. Already world champion in gi and no-gi starting in the year 2000, it is clear that he has dominated the sport for quite some time. In 2012, Xande conquered his fifth world no-gi title and at 31 years of age, managed to make it to the finals of the adult heavyweight division against heavyweight king, Rodolfo Vieira. Although he lost, he won the silver at the adult World’s and won the Master’s World Championships. Lastly, there is also his match against “The Boogeyman”, Dean Lister, at the first Metamoris event where he dominated the match against a very dangerous and experience opponent.
4. Caio Terra
Gameness sponsored Caio Terra always admits that all he does is jiu-jitsu and it’s true. Caio competes regularly and is almost never short of spectacular results. In 2012, the rooster-weight competed in several major tournaments, winning silver at the gi World Championship, gold at the No-Gi World Championship, gold at the American No-Gi Nationals and first place at the first ever IBJJF Black Belt Pro League earlier in December, winning him $5,000. And if that wasn’t enough, Caio was able to get his revenge against Jeff Glover at Metamoris, a loss he got against Glover at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo earlier in the year.
3. Rafael Mendes
Rafael Mendes is a special competitor – it’s been clear since he was a teenager. But this year was the year where he started to pull himself into the category of legend. The 3-time black belt world champion has shown a powerful display of dominance over his opponents in 2012 and if that wasn’t enough, in the finals of the Pan Ams, he arm-barred Cobrinha in a very dramatic fashion. Rafael gains the third spot on this list not necessarily due to the amount he competed, but when he did compete, he won so effortlessly and using an innovative arsenal of techniques that seldom can use to produce the same results.
2. Leandro Lo
Leandro deserves the second spot on this list because he not only won so many titles this year, but he is such a fierce and aggressive competitor, that he dominates in a very clear fashion. In 2012, Lo won the World Championship, the Pan American Championship, the Brazilian Nationals (gi and no-gi), Copa Podio and the IBJJF Black Belt Pro League. The results speak for themselves – the man is a machine, he keeps an intense pace throughout the duration of all his matches.
1. Marcus Almeida “Buchecha”
The absolute world champion is usually seen as the top competitor almost every year, and in 2012 ‘Buchecha’ is no exception. Winning all three major titles this year (World Championship, Pan-Am Championship and World Pro Cup) and dominating the legend Roger Gracie at Metamoris, it is only natural that Buchecha takes the first spot. He also left us with a treat, along with former absolute champion Rodolfo Vieira, a match that is considered to be one of the most exciting of all time.