2021 World Master IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship

The Difference Between IBJJF Masters Worlds and the World Championships

The Difference Between IBJJF Masters Worlds and the World Championships

The massive World Master Jiu-Jitsu Championship will see over 5000 competitors going for gold, but how does it differ from the World Championship?

Nov 4, 2021 by Hywel Teague
The Difference Between IBJJF Masters Worlds and the World Championships

On November 11-13 the IBJJF will host the massive World Master Jiu-Jitsu Championship in Las Vegas, and over 5000 competitors have registered for a chance to win gold. 

In this article we'll explain the difference between the World Championships and the World Master Championships. 

The term 'world champion' in grappling is something you will hear a lot, a result of there being many different federations hosting their own versions of world championships, compounded by the fact that there are world championships for both gi and no-gi. 

WATCH: Legends Saulo and Xande have competed along side each other for more than a decade. Follow both storied black belts as they put it all on the line at the 2016 World Master Championship. 

When discussing a world championship title or gold medal, most people are referring to the IBJJF World Championship, a tournament that has been running since 1996 and widely considered to be the most important and valuable title on an athlete's resume. Titles are disputed among competitors from blue to black belt, and up to 18 men and women at each belt level are crowned world champion in their respective divisions. 

The next IBJJF World Championship takes place on Dec 9-12 in Anaheim, CA, and is not linked to the World Master Championship scheduled for Nov 11-3 in Las Vegas. 

The term "Master" in IBJJF is analogous to "Senior". The standard divisions open to all competitors regardless of age is called "adult", and this ranges from 18 years of age and up. Older competitors may wish to compete against age-appropriate opponents, and so age divisions for athletes of 30 and over exist. 

These are called master 1, master 2, and so on, separated by five year age-gaps– hence the event name World Master Championships. Only competitors of 30 and above are permitted to register. 

Master 1 is for competitors age 30-34, master 2 is for 35-39, and so on, all the way up to master 7 for those over the age of 60. A competitor is not limited to competing only in the division of their current age: it is possible to move down and compete against younger opponents, and some grapplers will choose to do this. 

Clark Gracie Masters Worlds Omoplata Highlights


Unlock this video, live events, and more with a subscription!

Get Started

Already a subscriber? Log In

A gold medal at the World Master Championship can often be confused with winning the World Championship, but it is important to make a distinction between the two as they are not the same. The World Championship is considered to be the toughest and most prestigious tournament to win in the world, and the honor of becoming a true world champion is reserved for an elite few. 

This does not mean the World Master Championship is an easy tournament to emerge champion. Many elite grapplers who have reached the minimum age requirement choose to enter, and the black belt divisions are littered with many notable champions of yesteryear who wish to stay active. Consider the participation of world champions such as Joao Miyao and Paulo Miyao, Alexandro Ceconi, Roberto "Cyborg", Fredson Paixao, Omar Salum, Cassio Werneck and many others, not to mention standouts such as Gregor Gracie, Eduardo Telles, Maria Malyjasiak, Clark Gracie and the iconic Wellington Megaton Dias

Watch the 2021 World Master IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu Championship broadcast on FloGrappling. 

Stream or cast from your desktop, mobile or TV. Now available on Roku, Fire TV, Chromecast and Apple TV. Don’t forget to download the FloSports app on iOS or Android! If you can’t watch live, catch up with the replays! Video footage from the event will be archived and stored in a video library for FloGrappling subscribers to watch for the duration of their subscription.