Brown and black belts weigh in: Are Miyaos already a threat at black belt?

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Miyaos face off against on another in Abu Dhabi WPJJC 2013 during the final of their division. Photo: Dan Rod

The sport of Jiu-Jitsu is constantly evolving with new “crop” coming up the ranks. We often see competitors who stand out due to their extraordinary efforts and results be it from blue belt or black, rooster to ultra-heavy. The most recent known case is that of the Miyao brothers from Cicero Costha, Joao and Paulo who have shown through extreme dedication and passion that becoming champions is possible even against the largest opponents on the biggest stages.

With their recent promotion to black belt after earning three gold medals at brown belt between the two of them at the 2013 Worlds, we wanted to see from those who have faced them and those who will, what they think about their chances. From fresh brown belts to world champion, seasoned black belts, here were the responses along with the role they have or will play in the Miyaos’ Jiu-Jitsu journey.

Marcio Andre defeats Joao Miyao in 2012 Abu Dhabi Trials in Brazil. Photo: X-Combat

Marcio Andre, who gained his brown belt at the 2013 Worlds after winning the purple belt featherweight division, has gone against the Miyao brothers multiple times at blue and purple belt. He even sent a video technique to GRACIEMAG offering a way to defend the berimbolo. Since the brothers were promoted before Marcio had a chance to face them at brown belt, he won’t have a chance to go against them for awhile however he isn’t worried about it. He says, “There are still trials and other events that put brown belts and black belts together.” All in all, he gives his congratulations to the brothers and says, “Anyone can see that they are really dedicated and go after their goals. So, the new belt was very well deserved and for sure they will have a lot of success in their new belt rank.”

Jackson Souza and Paulo Miyao show off their 2013 Worlds medals. Photo: Facebook

Another brown belt who was able to match up against the Miyaos but in the open weight divisions is 2013 brown belt heavyweight world champion Jackson Souza. His opportunities to defend their berimbolo and back-taking offenses came at the 2012 Brazilian Nationals No-Gi when he defeated Paulo making him another to speak on their skills and after facing Joao at the 2013 Europeans. He says, “The Miyaos will give all the black belts a hard time. They are very dedicated and live for training, I don’t see anyone training more than them!! They will do great. Congrats to the Miyaos.”

Garry Tonon attempting a footlock on Joao Miyao. Photo: Lineage Photos

Garry Tonon from New Jersey had his chance to face Joao Miyao in a submission-only tournament a week after the Worlds. Feeling his opportunity wasn’t the best form for him to test his skills against them, he put up a challenge involving $1,000 coming from each and a submission-only situation aimed towards Paulo. The offer is still up in the air with no definitive plans but he says of the brothers, “Congratulations to both Paulo and Joao. Their dedication to their craft is matched by few. They will be excellent black belts, and give many a difficult time in competition. Based on my match with Joao, and watching their other matches, I think their biggest challenge at black belt will be opponents with a more well rounded game and experience defending berimbolo. Can’t wait for my sub only super-fight against Paulo, should give me some more first person perspective on these warriors!”

As far as the black belts, the light-feather, feather and lightweights will now have a chance to see what the popular brothers are capable of since both Joao and Paulo choose to fight in various weight divisions.

Carlos ‘Esquisito’ Holanda is a five-time Worlds medalist at black belt light-feather under the CheckMat banner. With a light-hearted response and no ego he is ready for the Miyaos giving GRACIEMAG the statement, “Surely today they are an icon for the Jiu-Jitsu world and it will be a pleasure to fight with them. I am already preparing myself (laughs).”

Light-featherweight Laercio Fernandes, who came in second at the 2012 Worlds in the light-featherweight division and has been a force ever since, gives support to the Miyaos. He knows what being at a new rank brings, especially at black belt. He says, “First congratulations to them for the promotion. I think they will bring more emotion for the fans and fighters because they are starting a new journey for themselves and therefore they are hungry to be champion at black belt.”

Caio Terra in the open weight. Photo: Jerry Roberts

Perhaps one person who can be considered a great match-up for the berimbolo-ing duo is that of multiple-time world champion in gi and no-gi, Caio Terra. A natural rooster weight, he competes in both rooster and light-featherweight divisions regularly as well as the open weight divisions. He has constantly proven his abilities to both smaller and larger guys, traveling the world for seminars and competing along the way at any chance he can get. His opinion of the Miyaos can be valued at least in terms of what they have accomplished so far and what we can expect they will try in the near future regarding winning championships in their divisions and the absolutes as smaller individuals.

He offers his comments: “They are super talented and they are very hungry to become world champions [at black belt]. They are definitely a threat to the guys in the light-feather division but the level of brown belts is very weak compared to black. I think they will frustrate a lot of top black belts but they aren’t going to dominate yet because the light-feather division has maybe the most competitive division right now as its the most unpredictable category. Maybe in a few years if they stay hungry for medals they might dominate but they need experience first. But again, it’s all very hard to predict because by then other talented kids may come. It’s not easy to become a champion, I just hope that if they do, they become good champions with the purpose of evolving the sport and changing people’s lives.”

And you, do you think they can threaten the top black belts already? Let us know.

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