Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a martial arts that focuses on grappling and ground fighting. This martial art derives from the Japanese martial art of Judo. The primary principle of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is that a much smaller opponent can defeat a larger opponent by using proper technique and intellect with the proper manipulation of joints and proper use of chokes. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a highly competitive sport with world tournaments in both gi and no-gi style competitions. The Mixed Martial Arts started as an exhibition of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Although the art began with Mitsuyo Maeda, it was popularized by the Gracie family. As a way of trying to popularize Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, the Gracie family created the Ultimate Fighting Championship. The competition of the Ultimate Fighting Championship invited masters from different styles such as boxing, karate, and muay thai to compete in a no-holds-barred format. Fans were attracted to the style vs. style format to see which style was the best. To the surprise of most, the methodical and anaconda like style of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from the Gracie Family won the tournament and several thereafter. Most of the early fights were finished by submission. Fans were excited and clamored to find out more about Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
Today, every mixed martial artist no matter what organization they belong to, has a strong technical base in groundwork. A majority of fighters in the UFC have Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a basic fighting style. Fighters, such as Lightweight Champion BJ Penn, have had large success utilizing the tools of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Although BJ Penn is a dominant lightweight, he has fought in three different weight classes due to his superior Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Penn was able to defeat Matt Hughes, the UFC welterweight champion, via rear naked choke. BJ Penn has also fought Lyoto Machida at heavyweight. The fight went to decision, with a close unanimous decision going to Machida. BJ Penn is an example of the dominance of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu in the UFC and in the MMA world.