2022 ADCC World Championships

Amy Campo Made ADCC History, Becoming First-Ever American 60+ kg Champion

Amy Campo Made ADCC History, Becoming First-Ever American 60+ kg Champion

Amy Campo capped off a tremendous rookie year at black belt with her historic win at ADCC. What comes next?

Oct 3, 2022 by Erica Zendell
Amy Campo Made ADCC History, Becoming First-Ever American 60+ kg Champion

Those who follow Amy Campo know that this season has been her breakout year, both in and out of the gi. In less than nine months, Campo racked up an outstanding victim list that brought her out of relative anonymity and increasingly into the competitive spotlight. She was runner-up at ADCC East Coast Trials (November 2021), brown belt double gold IBJJF World champion (December 2021), winner of ADCC West Trials (April 2022) and runner-up in the absolute division of her first IBJJF Worlds at Black Belt (June 2022). 

However, one performance stands out as the crown jewel among Campo’s many in the last year: her show stopping, gold-medal run at the 2022 ADCC World Championships. Amy Campo had one of the most challenging paths to victory in the 60+kg division, facing longtime rival Elisabeth Clay, the ostensibly indomitable Gabi Garcia, and the powerful Rafaela Guedes.

In the quarterfinals, Campo formidably held off Clay’s leg lock offensive for a 3-0 win, scoring off of a knee cut guard pass. Campo followed her first-round triumph with the defeat of a jiu-jitsu legend, securing an upset against Gabi Garcia: in the semifinals, Campo hit a slick trip off an arm drag in the final minute of regulation time, following Garcia off the mat and chasing after an armbar in the final seconds the match to win 5-0. Despite Guedes leading final the match 2-0 off a takedown with nine minutes remaining, at the five-minute mark, Campo navigated to the back in a scramble off of a butterfly sweep, finally setting her hooks to score in the last thirty seconds for a 3-2 win, and ADCC gold.

Campo did more than dethrone some of the top flight in women’s no gi jiu-jitsu — past and present. She carved a space for herself in ADCC’s history by becoming the first American female to win at 60+kg. The first-ever American female to win ADCC? Mackenzie Dern, who won the -60kg division back in 2015.  

At twenty-two years old, Campo has her whole career ahead of her. With her ADCC title, Amy Campo has one of the most coveted titles in grappling already in her possession. The inevitable question emerges: what next? Campo is not currently registered for No-Gi Pans, but we could see her wrap up her first year at Black Belt at No-Gi Worlds. In addition to giving Campo a chance to win her first IBJJF black belt major title, No-Gi Worlds could prove a fertile ground for ADCC rematches in the Absolute division against the likes of Clay and Guedes (contingent on registrations).

One sure thing we can expect from Amy Campo in the future? An ADCC title defense attempt in 2024. But now, as her rookie season comes to an end, she is no longer an underdog. She has put herself among the elite.