Matheus Diniz

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Matheus Diniz has been a fixture of the BJJ competition scene for the last decade. Since he was a purple belt, many have been watching Diniz’s rise to becoming a black belt world champion.

Here is the story of how Matheus Diniz became one of the top competitors in Jiu Jitsu. Going over how he got started in Jiu Jitsu, moving to Marcelo Garcia’s school, and becoming an ADCC champion.

How did Diniz get started in Jiu Jitsu?

Matheus Diniz grew up in Minas Gerais, Brazil and started Capoeira when he was 10 years old. Throughout his teen years, Diniz had the reputation as a troublemaker, which would constantly give him problems.

When he was 15, Matheus was expelled from school and as an effect was also kicked out of Capoeira training.

He discovered Jiu Jitsu when he was 15 years old under odd circumstances. There was a kid from another street that wanted to fight Matheus, who trained BJJ.

Diniz found out where he was training and went to the school to fight him. The boy’s Jiu Jitsu instructor intervened and made them squash the beef.

This instructor decreed that they would no longer be enemies, but become friends and training partners. That is how Matheus Diniz got started training Jiu Jitsu under Rodrigo Ranieri.

Matheus moves to Paulo Rezende’s academy

Diniz would grow passionate about Jiu Jitsu and earn his blue belt from Ranieri. He would then travel to decide to leave home and pursue his dream of being a Jiu Jitsu world champion.

This would lead him to train with Paulo Rezende in Poços de Caldas, which is 300 kms from his hometown. At Rezende’s academy, Diniz would start to come into his own as a grappler.

Upon earning his purple belt, Matheus would place second at the 2012 BJJ Worlds. His performance that year would lead to Rezende giving him his brown belt.

Diniz begins training under Marcelo Garcia

During his rise to competing internationally, Diniz would come into contact with BJJ GOAT Marcelo Garcia. Both Matheus and Marcelo both grew up in the same city of Formiga, which instantly created a connection between them.

Garcia would regularly cover Diniz’s travel expenses and tournament fees in the US. Marcelo would finally make Matheus an offer to come to New York City and train at his academy.

This was an opportunity that Diniz could not pass up and gladly accepted Garcia’s offer.

Diniz’s game evolves under Marcelo

Once Diniz began training under Garcia, his BJJ game drastically improved. His first three years training under Garcia would be the best years of Matheus’ career as a lower ranked competitor.

Diniz would win his first No-Gi Jiu Jitsu world title in 2013 and would repeat as champion in 2014. Also placing 2nd at the BJJ Worlds in 2014.

There was a lot of buzz around Diniz and many wondered if he could have this success at black belt. Diniz’s last tournament at brown belt would be his best by getting double gold at the 2015 Pan Championship.

This would lead to Marcelo Garcia awarding Matheus with his BJJ black belt.

Diniz’s early performances at black belt

When Matheus became a black belt in 2015, there was a lot of hype around him. Being the protege of Marcelo Garcia carries a lot of weight and Diniz would meet the expectations.

At the IBJJF New York Open, Diniz put on a performance in front of his MGA teammates. Beating Neiman Gracie in the 94 Kg finals and UFC vet Gilbert Burns in the absolute division. Earning his first double gold at the black belt level.

He had another double gold performance at the 2015 No-Gi Pan Championship. Most notably beating Garry Tonon by wrist lock in the absolute finals.

Diniz coming up short winning worlds.

When Matheus got into Jiu Jitsu, his goal was to win a world championship at black belt. Unfortunately, he would continually come up short of winning a world title between 2015 and 2018.

Diniz would do well in various tournaments throughout the year, but would come up short in the world championship tournaments. Having to settle for 2nd and 3rd place finishes in that three year span.

Matheus wins at ADCC 2019

2019 would turn out to be Matheus’ year. He would get the invite to compete at the 2019 ADCC Championship tournament.

Diniz was focused and would have a great training camp leading up to the event. At the tournament, he would be in the stacked 88 Kg division along with Pedro Marinho, Josh Hinger, and Craig Jones.

His first round would be against Gracie Barra’s top No-Gi competitor Pedro Marinho. Matheus would get the takedown and guard pass to win his opening match 5-0.

In the second round, Diniz would have a war with Gabriel Arges, where he squeaked out a referee’s decision. The semi finals would be another tough match against Atos’ Josh Hinger, which Matheus would win 3-0.

This would set him up against leg lock specialist Craig Jones. The two would have a 30 minute chess match that Diniz would win 2-0 to win his first ever Jiu Jitsu world title.

Finally accomplishing his dream of winning a Jiu Jitsu world title after 11 years of training.

Matheus’ BJJ game

Diniz’s most used nickname is the gorilla, which is rather fitting, because he walks like a gorilla and is incredibly strong. A lot of his BJJ game mirrors that of his coach Marcelo Garcia.

His time training under Garcia has made Diniz’s guarding passing and back taking quite tenacious along with his wrestling ability.

Matheus’ wrestling and guard passing were the key factors that would help him win the 2019 ADCC Championship.

What’s next for Matheus Diniz?

Since winning at the 2019 ADCC tournament, Diniz has been trying to find that magic that made him a world champion. He has lost four tough matches between 2020 and 2021.

Losing to Gordon Ryan, Lucas Barbosa, Otavio Sousa, and Kayan Duarte. Even though Matheus is in a bit of a slump, he will no doubt turn it around. Getting refocused and looking to add another world title to his impressive resume.

Matheus Diniz is a top class grappler who has shown that with constant training and a positive attitude, you can reach the stars in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.


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