Caio Terra is a badass! He has won the BJJ worlds twice as a black belt (2008 & 2013), no gi worlds five times, Pan Am’s three time’s all as a 122 pound BJJ athlete. This is an amazing feat at any weight. Caio Terra competes as a rooster weight (-126.5 lbs), the smallest weight class available. On March 12th the Pan Am’s of BJJ take place in Irvine, California. According to the IBJJF website, 122 pound Caio Terra has opted to register for the ultra heavy weight division (221 lbs and higher). Have you ever noticed that the absolute division (all weights) is never won by small guys or ladies? In fact, most small competitors stay away from the absolute divisions for fear of injury. So why is Caio Terra doing this? To prove a point that size doesn’t matter? Perhaps… Most BJJ Black Belts will agree that at a higher level (black belt) that size does matter. When all other things are equal (technique / skill level) that size and strength do actually matter. The origin of the saying that “size doesn’t matter” is generally referring to a trained BJJ practitioner versus a “non trained” person, such as in a self-defense altercation. The question then may NOT be that Caio Terra is massively outsized and that this might make a huge difference…the question may in fact be is Caio Terra so much better technically that his larger opponents will be at a disadvantage? Can a smaller, quicker, flexible and more technical practitioner be a greater challenge for a larger person?
Let’s take a look at the only division that combines weights:
The Absolute division across the three main events (The BJJ World’s, Pan Am’s and ADCC)
Here are the stats!
BJJ Worlds – 18 Events, 18 Absolutes, only four middle weights have won gold, the other 14 were won by heavy weights and higher.
BJJ Pan Am’s – 18 Events, 17 Absolutes, only two events were won by a middle weight and welter weight, the other 15 were won by heavy weights and higher.
ADCC – 10 events, 10 Absolutes, only won event was won by a welter weight (Andre Galvao), the remaining nine were won by heavy weights and higher.
To Re-Cap: That’s 35 Absolute titles (World’s / Pan’s / ADCC), 5 Absolutes won by middle weights, 2 won by welter weights, leaving 28 won by heavy weights and higher!
There are of course the female divisions for the world’s…but do we really need to discuss Gabi Garcia winning the absolute in the world’s? (There have been two female absolute division thus far in the world’s – both 2012 and 2013 were won by the very tough, but massively outsized Gabi Garcia). So basing this (very unscientifically) on these stats…it doesn’t look good for Caio Terra.
So does Caio Terra have a chance at this years Pan Am’s? It’s hard to say. It really depends on who shows up and competes this year. If the division is stacked with big, tough guys it may be a rough weekend for Caio Terra.
BUT…if he win’s…IF HE WIN’S… it would be a pretty astounding feat indeed!
If size mattered, then the elephant would be the king of the jungle!” -Rickson Gracie