17 Greatest Judo Players in Brazil of All Time


Brazil has a long and proud tradition of judo and some of the best judo players in the world hail from this South American country.

From Olympic champions to world title holders, Brazil has a long list of impressive judokas who have made their mark on the international judo scene.

From Rafaela Silva to Sarah Menezes, these athletes have demonstrated remarkable skill and determination in their sport, and their accomplishments serve as an inspiration to young judokas around the world.

We will take a look at some of the greatest judo players from Brazil, and explore their incredible careers.

1. Leonardo Leite

Leonardo “Leo” Leite is a renowned figure in the world of martial arts. He is a retired Brazilian judoka, jiu-jitsu practitioner, and mixed martial artist. Leite was born in Brazil and has been training in martial arts since he was a child.

He has competed in several competitions and has won numerous titles. He was a world champion in judo and jiu-jitsu and held the Brazilian National Championship in both disciplines.

He has also competed in mixed martial arts, where he has won several fights and has been featured in several events. He is now retired, but his legacy as one of the greatest martial artists of all time lives on.

He has inspired many aspiring martial artists to pursue their dreams and strive for excellence.

2. Hélio Gracie


Hélio Gracie was a legendary Brazilian martial artist who spent his life devoted to the development of an effective and formidable self-defense martial art system.

Along with his four brothers Oswaldo, Gastao Jr., George and Carlos, the Gracies founded and developed the martial art system of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, which is more commonly known as Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

With his brothers, Hélio was able to refine and perfect the techniques and strategies of the art, which enabled it to become one of the most popular and renowned martial arts in the world. The Gracie brothers were passionate about their art and wanted to ensure that it would remain effective and accessible to all.

To this end, they sought to bring together techniques from judo, wrestling, and other martial arts to create a style of fighting that was effective for all body types and sizes.

This adaptive and comprehensive approach to martial arts allowed the Gracies to create a system that was practical and effective for anyone, regardless of their size or strength. Hélio and his brothers also sought to make Gracie Jiu-Jitsu a sport and a way of life.

To this end, they established the Gracie Academy in Rio de Janeiro, which was the first school to teach the system of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu.

From this school, they spread their art across Brazil and the world, enabling it to become one of the most widely practiced martial arts. Today, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is still practiced around the world and is widely renowned for its effectiveness in self-defense.

It is a testament to the legacy of Hélio and his brothers that their art continues to be appreciated and practiced in the modern day.

3. Rafaela Silva

Rafaela Lopes Silva is a world-renowned judoka who hails from Brazil. She has had a remarkable career in the sport, having won several prestigious medals in her weight division.

In 2013, she won gold at the World Judo Championships, and she repeated the feat nine years later in 2022. Her biggest achievement came in 2016 when she won the gold medal at the Summer Olympics in the -57kg weight division.

This victory made Silva the first Brazilian judoka to win an Olympic gold medal in the sport. Her success has been an inspiration to many judokas in Brazil and around the world, and she is an example of what hard work and dedication can achieve.

4. Maria Suelen Altheman

Maria Suelen Altheman is an impressive athlete who has achieved a great deal of success in her sport of judo. As a Brazilian heavyweight judoka, she was the recipient of two silver medals at the World Championships in 2013 and 2014.

Additionally, she won bronze medals at the Pan American Games in 2011 and 2015. Her impressive accomplishments also included a joint 5th-place finish at the 2012 Summer Olympics. Altheman has been a force to be reckoned with in the sport of judo.

She has pushed her physical limits in order to become one of the top competitors in the world. Her hard work and dedication have paid off, as she has earned an impressive list of medals and awards throughout her career.

She is a shining example of what can be accomplished with hard work and dedication. She is a true inspiration to those who wish to pursue a career in the sport of judo.

5. Luciano Corrêa

Luciano Ribeiro Corrêa is an accomplished Brazilian judoka who competes in the -100 kg weight category. He has achieved a great deal of success in his career, most notably becoming world champion in the 2007 World Judo Championships.

This impressive feat was followed by a bronze medal at the same championships, making Luciano a two-time medalist. In addition, he has had the honor of representing his country at the 2008 and 2012 Summer Olympics.

His impressive record of achievements have firmly established him as one of the best judoka in his weight category. Luciano is an inspiration to many, having achieved success both domestically and internationally.

He has been a positive role model for aspiring judoka and has been influential in growing the sport in Brazil. His commitment and dedication to the sport has earned him respect and admiration from his peers and fans alike.

To this day, Luciano continues to train and compete as one of the top judoka in his weight category.

6. Érika Miranda

Érika de Souza Miranda is a Brazilian judoka, a martial art combining grappling and striking techniques. She gained recognition in 2011 when she won the silver medal in the Half-lightweight −52 kg division at the Pan American Games in Guadalajara, Mexico.

Miranda then went on to compete at the 2016 Summer Olympics in the women’s 52 kg event. Unfortunately, she was unable to take home the bronze medal as she lost the match to Misato Nakamura.

Despite this, Miranda has continued to be a successful judoka, having achieved a number of impressive results over the course of her career.

7. Mayra Aguiar

Mayra Aguiar da Silva is a Brazilian judoka and a remarkable athlete. She has reached great heights in her career, becoming the first Brazilian woman to win three Olympic medals in an individual sport.

Her impressive accomplishments include three consecutive Olympic bronze medals in 2012, 2016 and 2020, as well as three world championships. Mayra’s success is a testament to her hard work and dedication to the sport.

She has become a role model for many young Brazilian athletes, showing what is possible with the right attitude and commitment.

Her achievements also demonstrate the potential of Brazilian judokas, as she is the first from her country to win three Olympic medals in an individual sport. Mayra Aguiar da Silva has achieved something that no other Brazilian has before.

Her Olympic and world championship medals demonstrate her tremendous athletic ability and are an inspiration for anyone who dreams of reaching the highest levels of their sport.

Her accomplishments have earned her a place in the history books and she should be celebrated for her incredible achievements.

8. Flávio Canto

Flávio Vianna de Ulhôa Canto is an impressive Brazilian judoka who has achieved success and recognition in the sport. At the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, he won the bronze medal in the Men’s 81 kg Judo event.

His success in judo has led him to become an influential figure in the sports world. In addition to his judo career, he also founded and is the president of the Instituto Reação, a non-profit organization that works to empower young people through the practice of judo.

He is also the presenter of two television shows, Corujão do Esporte on TV Globo and Sensei on SporTV. These shows focus on the lives of athletes and provide insight into the culture and lifestyle of judo.

Through his work, Flávio Vianna de Ulhôa Canto has become an inspiration to many, showing that success in any field is possible with hard work, dedication, and passion.

9. Mitsuyo Maeda


Mitsuyo Maeda was a Japanese judōka and prizefighter who had a strong influence on the development of modern mixed martial arts. He was born in Japan but later naturalized as Otávio Maeda in Brazil.

Maeda was a pioneer in combat sports, as he was one of the first to participate in no-holds-barred competitions.

He often tested his skills against practitioners of other martial arts, which led to the emergence of mixed martial arts, which is now one of the most popular combat sports in the world.

Maeda was a strong advocate for cross-training in martial arts, which paved the way for the development of today’s modern mixed martial arts. His dedication to the sport helped to shape the way we see martial arts today, and his influence can still be felt in the sport.

10. Tiago Camilo

Tiago Henrique de Oliveira Camilo is a highly accomplished judoka from Brazil. He achieved the impressive feat of winning the silver medal in the lightweight division at the 2000 Summer Olympics.

This success was followed up by a gold medal at the 2007 World Judo Championships, making him the third Brazilian to become a world champion in judo, after João Derly and Luciano Corrêa.

This is a testament to his skill and dedication to the sport of judo, as he was able to become one of the few judokas to win medals in both the Olympics and the World Championships.

He is an inspiration to many, and his success has further increased the popularity of the sport in Brazil.

11. João Derly


João Derly de Oliveira Nunes Jr. is a highly accomplished athlete, having achieved an impressive feat that has only been accomplished by one other Brazilian.

He is a former male judoka from Brazil, and is one of only two Brazilians to have won the World Judo Championships twice in a row. In 2005, he won the World Judo Championships and then followed it up with another victory in 2007.

This made him the first Brazilian to ever achieve such an accomplishment. He was able to achieve this feat through hard work and dedication, and his success has been an inspiration to many aspiring judokas in Brazil.

His achievements have been celebrated by the judo community, and his legacy will be remembered for years to come.

12. Aurélio Miguel

Aurélio Fernández Miguel is a renowned Brazilian judoka and Olympic champion. He has accomplished much in his sporting career and went on to be a successful politician. In 1988, he won the gold medal in the judo event at the Summer Olympics in Seoul, South Korea.

His impressive performance was followed by a bronze medal at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, United States. Miguel’s career in judo began at an early age. He trained and competed extensively in tournaments throughout Brazil and abroad, winning numerous awards and accolades.

He has also been recognized as one of the most important judokas in Brazilian history. After a successful career in judo, Miguel went on to become a politician. He was elected as a representative in the Chamber of Deputies of Brazil in 2010.

Since then, he has worked to promote sports, health, and education in his home country. Miguel’s Olympic achievements have earned him a place in Brazilian history, and he continues to be an inspiration to other athletes.

His legacy as an Olympic champion and politician will be remembered for many years to come.

13. Rafael Macedo

Rafael Macedo is a Brazilian judoka, a martial art that combines grappling and striking. He has achieved great success in the sport, winning a medal at the 2019 World Judo Championships.

This success has seen him represent Brazil at the 2020 Summer Olympics, where he will be looking to further build on his impressive track record. He is undoubtedly an inspiration to aspiring judokas and a proud representative of Brazil on the international stage.

14. Beatriz Souza

Beatriz Souza is a dedicated Brazilian judoka who has proved her dedication and talent on the international stage. In 2019, she showcased her skill and won a medal at the World Judo Championships.

Her success was not short-lived as she continued to compete and recently won the silver medal in her event at the 2022 Judo Grand Slam Tel Aviv held in Tel Aviv, Israel. This victory is a testament to her hard work and determination to succeed in the sport.

Beatriz Souza is living proof that dedication and hard work can take you far in life. She is an inspiration to aspiring judokas around the world and has set an example of how to achieve greatness in the sport.

15. Daniel Cargnin

Daniel Borges Cargnin is a Brazilian judoka who has achieved remarkable success in the sport. He is currently the double Pan-American Judo Champion in the -66 kg class, which is a testament to his prowess as a judoka.

In 2020, he achieved the pinnacle of success in his sport when he won a bronze medal at the Summer Olympics. This was a major accomplishment for Cargnin and his native country of Brazil, as it was the first Olympic medal in judo that Brazil had won in 32 years.

Cargnin is a true champion and a source of pride for his country, and his accomplishments are a reminder of the greatness that can be achieved when hard work and dedication are applied.

16. Guilherme Schimidt

Guilherme Schmidt is a Brazilian judoka, an individual who practices the martial art of judo. He is currently one of the top judoka in the world, ranking fourth in the International Judo Federation’s world ranking list for the under-81kg category.

This is an impressive achievement considering the level of competition in the sport and speaks to the skill and dedication that Schmidt has put into his judo training.

He has certainly proven himself to be one of the best judoka in the world, and his impressive ranking is a testament to his hard work and commitment to the sport.

17. Fabricio Werdum


Fabrício Werdum is a renowned Brazilian mixed martial artist and former UFC Heavyweight Champion. As a four-time Brazilian jiu-jitsu world champion, Werdum has achieved great success in the Heavyweight division of the sport.

Additionally, he is also a two-time Abu Dhabi Combat Club World Heavyweight Champion and European jiu-jitsu champion. Werdum has been a major force in the UFC, having won the heavyweight championship in 2015 after defeating Cain Velasquez.

He held the title for a year and a half before losing it to Stipe Miocic. Over the course of his career, he has earned a reputation as one of the greatest heavyweight fighters in the world. Werdum’s success is rooted in his training in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

He is a four-time world champion in the discipline, having won gold medals at the World Jiu-Jitsu Championship, the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Cup, the European Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship, and the Pan American Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

In addition to these accomplishments, Werdum has also won two Abu Dhabi Combat Club World Heavyweight Championships and the European Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship. These achievements demonstrate Werdum’s dedication to the sport of mixed martial arts and his commitment to becoming one of the best in the world.

He is a consummate professional who trains hard and has the skills to back it up in the octagon. He has proved himself to be a formidable opponent and is respected by fans and fighters alike.


The best Judo players in Brazil are recognized for their remarkable accomplishments in the sport. They have achieved international success, and their skill and dedication to the sport is a testament to the culture of Brazilian martial arts.

They are some of the most inspiring athletes in the world and are sure to continue to inspire athletes and Judokas for years to come.

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I am a judo coach and sports expert. I have been coaching judo for the past 10 years and have been in the sport for 20 years. My expertise is in judo, but I also know a lot about other sports as well. I am also an author who has written three books on judo. LinkedIn My goal is to help people learn more about sports, especially if they are new to it or want to pick up a new sport.