Andre Galvao is regarded as one of the greatest BJJ athletes of all time. He has won numerous titles from the most prestigious grappling tournaments. He is a 6-time ADCC champion, 6-time IBJJF World Champion, 3-time UAEJJF World Champion, and is the head coach of one of the most successful BJJ teams in recent years, Atos Jiu-Jitsu. In this article, we will talk about the legacy of the Brazilian legend Andre Galvao.
The Life Of Andre Galvao
Andre was born in São Sebastião, São Paulo, Brazil on September 29, 1982. He first took up Judo as a child. Having been influenced by his brother, who is a BJJ practitioner, he decided to move to BJJ in his teenage years. Luis Dagmar was Andre’s first BJJ coach. With Dagmar seeing the potential of Andre’s talent early in his training, he advised Andre to train with Fernando Tererê, as he believed his academy was too small and might limit Andre’s future competitively.
Under the tutelage of one of the top competitors at that time, Tererê, Andre’s skills considerably evolved. Andre, an undefeated purple belt then, became the first to win the IBJJF Grand Slam, winning gold in the Brazilian Nationals, Pan American Championship, and IBJJF World Championship. Fernando then promoted Andre to brown belt after a dominant purple belt run. With Tererê’s absence from the sport in 2005, his partner Eduardo Telles drove Andre back to his hometown for the honor of receiving the black belt rank from his original coach, Luis Dagmar.
Andre has been an active competitor for almost two decades, competing in both grappling and MMA. He is a firm believer in consistency and has dedicated himself to competing in every available competition, not just the major ones. From colored belt to black belt, he won four World Championships in a row from 2002-2005 and won both his weight class and absolute in 2003 and 2004.
Despite his competitive success, Andre’s career has experienced many ups and downs. A year after his debut as a black belt, Andre made the finals in 2006 but fell short of the gold against another BJJ legend in Marcelo Garcia, and Lucas Leite in 2007.
After two years of struggling to get the number 1 spot in his division, in 2008, Andre won another World Championship. This time, he went up against Braulio Estima, another top competitor in the early 2000s.
Throughout his career, Galvao has constantly been fighting his rivals to stay at the top. While he has conquered his weight division, Andre also entered the absolute division. He met Roger Gracie in the semifinal, a grappler many believe to be the greatest Jiu-Jitsu competitor of all time.
Andre achieved a lot of great things in 2008. Team Atos (“acts” in Portuguese), in reference to the Acts of the Apostles book, was founded by him and his friend Ramon Lemos, bringing their evangelical background to the mat. Halfway through the year, Andre competed in MMA, winning his first professional match by armbar.
Andre, being the competitor he is, set his sights on conquering the ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship. ADCC is widely known as the world’s most prestigious submission grappling tournament. Grapplers from all backgrounds come to test their abilities against the best grapplers in their division and beyond. In the quarter-finals match of the 2009 ADCC, Andre and former UFC Champion Chris Weidman battled for the world to see.
Galvao and Estima’s rivalry was still going strong at this point. The two have fought many times in their career. While Andre defeated Braulio in the 2008 IBJJF World Championship, they met in a submission grappling match this time, under the ADCC banner. Braulio got his revenge and stopped Andre from winning the ADCC gold in their weight class.
As stated above, Andre Galvao also had his fair share of MMA fights. One of his more notable fights was against Strikeforce standout and former UFC welterweight champion Tyron Woodley in 2010.
While his MMA career is short-lived, Andre has spent enough time in the cage to test his grappling skills against elite fighters. He may not have been an MMA champion, but he will be remembered as one of the top grapplers to ever fight in the cage.
Andre’s dominant ADCC reign started in 2011. That year, he won his division and the open weight class. Winning ADCC gold will never be a simple task. Winning both your weight division and the open weight class is an even more amazing achievement.
Wrestling is a critical element of submission grappling. For the 2011 ADCC, Andre drastically improved his wrestling skills. According to him, it was the key to his success, and his improvement in this aspect is apparent when compared to the younger version of himself from the early 2000s.
“When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object”. One highlight of the 2011 ADCC is the match between Andre Galvao and Rousimar Palhares.
Andre is the most accomplished ADCC competitor of all time. Winning the double gold in 2011, he continued defending his throne by winning super fights for consecutive years (2013-2019). Andre met his rival Braulio Estima again in the 2013 ADCC Superfight.
Defending his throne as the king of ADCC, he faced Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu in 2015 and Claudio Calasans in the 2017 ADCC Superfight. Cyborg, though the heavier grappler, could not stop Andre from winning their match.
In his last reign as the king of ADCC, Andre defeated another beast, Felipe Pena, in the 2019 ADCC World Championship.
He recently lost the 2022 ADCC Superfight against Gordon Ryan. While his last ADCC match did not go on a high note, this does not take away from his utter breadth of success in the field of submission grappling.
Team Atos Jiu-Jitsu
It is incredible how Andre Galvao stayed at the top of his game for so long, all while coaching a team of world-class competitors. Under his tutelage, he has produced some of the best grapplers of the current generation, such as the Ruotolo brothers, Kaynan Duarte, and Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa, to name a few. Former UFC Champion Israel Adesanya also trains under an Atos affiliate and got his purple belt from Andre Galvao himself.
Andre Galvao’s legacy is secured in the annals of history. A champion in and out of the mats, his influence, attitude, and accomplishments will be remembered for generations to come. We are excited to see more young champions develop under his tutelage!
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