Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa – Brazilian Powerhouse

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Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa is one of the toughest and most powerful Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitors in the world, dominating both the gi and no-gi grappling circuits in prestigious world competitions. Since he was promoted to blackbelt in 2015, he has been considered one of the top grapplers in both the BJJ gi and no-gi division. In 2018, he was considered the top black belt grappler by the IBJJF.

Lucas Daniel Silva Barbosa was born on February 13, 1992, in Boa Vista, State of Roraima, Brazil. His family promoted sports for the youth, and so Lucas grew up to be an active and athletic kid.

Lucas Barbosa is not new to the world of sports. At a young age, he practiced basketball, swimming, and volleyball. His love for sports was influenced largely by his parents. At the age of 10, he learned martial arts. He first trained Taekwondo and then, later on, learned Judo and Thai boxing. 

It was when he was 15 years old that he discovered Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu while on holiday with his godfather. His godfather already practiced this martial art back then. It was Diego Lopes who introduced him to the sport that would make him a world legend.

The Hulk’s Journey Into Jiu-Jitsu

The Hulk is known for his takedowns – something he learned early on by training with coaches who helped him accentuate the takedown game he’s now most famous for. When he was a teenager, he trained with André Galvao and Cristiano Carioca, who were instrumental in his growth and in leading him to the path of competitions. 

Later on, when he was at the purple belt level, he decided to start his BJJ career and moved to Rio de Janeiro where he would live with and train with other fighters under their coach, Márcio Rodrigues. He also trained with coach Andre Fabiano, and Barbosa ended up spending countless hours training while in Rio.

It was at this point of his BJJ journey that he earned his nickname“Hulk”. Rightfully so, Barbosa possessed uncanny physical prowess, particularly in throwing and pressure passing.

It became a constantly accelerating path for Barbosa after he got awarded the brown belt promotion. He joined “ “The Team” in 2014, which was a web series by Copa Podio. The series featured fighters competing to land as a challenger for their 3rd Season event. 

Barbosa stood out from the pack and ended up competing in the pay-per-view main event that year. He also won international titles while at the brown belt division and would later be promoted to black belt by Andre Fabiano on July 7, 2015. 

Later on, Lucas moved to Southern California and trained under Atos Jiu-Jitsu. He also grabbed the chance to live and train with Marcelo Garcia, who was his idol. 

It was at this point in his BJJ career that he earned the title of the top-ranked IBJJF black belt in his weight class in 2018. 

Barbosa’s Fights, Wins, and Techniques

Barbosa has a jaw-dropping record of 180 wins to 38 losses. Seventy of those wins were won via submission. Most of his submission wins were delivered via RNC or armbar. 

He has won against some of the biggest names in the grappling world, such as Nicky Rod, Patrick Gaudio, Matheus Diniz, Leandro Lo, and Gabriel Almeida. Some of his noticeable losses were delivered by Nicolas Meregali, Tex Johnson, Roberto Abreu, Kyle Boehm, and, one of his biggest rivals, Gordon Ryan. 

This year, Gordon Ryan threw some spicy online jabs at Barbosa, taunting him after a failed armbar attempt against Yuri Simoes in the quarterfinals of BJJ Stars. Barbosa was arguably Ryan’s toughest match in the 2019 ADCC, and a match-up between the two (or with any of the Atos big guys whom Ryan has beef with) would definitely be a massive draw. 

Lucas Barbosa had a slew of fights in this year alone. On November 6, Hulk Barbosa dominated the BJJ Stars 7 main event and won against black belt and UFC’s Gilbert “Durinho” Burns via rear-naked choke. He also won against Gerard Labinski in the superfight of Raw Grappling #1. Furthermore, he won against BJJ beast and seven-time IBJJF world champion Leandro Lo at the star-studded BJJBET II – Who’s Next No Gi final event earlier in the year. The fight was, as everyone expected, action-packed with a lot of wrestling action.

On December 14, Hulk delivered another podium finish, bagging the gold in the IBJJF Worlds 2021 medium-heavy weight division. This victory is definitely worth celebrating considering he has not competed in the gi circuit for close to 2 years. Among the tough competitors in his weight class were Leandro Lo, Fabiano Alano, Andre Porfirio, Gustavo Batista, Ruan Oliveira, and Otavio Sousa.

One of the things you gotta love about Barbosa is his extreme pressure game. He wrestles his way into the top position and keeps the top position until his opponents are worn down. His passes are nothing short of explosive and epic. He capitalizes on his tight body lock game, and you can bet he’s going to hunt for that armbar finish. Not only is he highly technical, but he’s also amazingly strong and agile. He makes sure to use his athleticism to his advantage with every chance he gets, leaving his opponents exhausted. 

What’s Next for Barbosa?

Barbosa shared that he intended to join and compete in the MMA circuit in 2021. While we have yet to see that materialize, it is definitely going to be an exciting time for both BJJ and MMA fans, as the multi-awarded IBJJF champion has a lot to offer on both striking and grappling. He is currently training with his fellow BJJ competitors and he also coaches students at Atos Jiu-Jitsu in San Diego under Professor Andre Galvao

He can be seen sharing his fitness and training regimen online. Seeing how incredibly active he has been in the Jiu-Jitsu competition scene, fighting across various rulesets and competitions, we can definitely expect more explosive action in the upcoming competitions next year from this Atos prodigy, 2019 ADCC medalist, and four-time IBJJF no-gi world champion.


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