Rarely does a name become so synonymous with a sport as Cyborg in Bjj. Whether you know the fighter or just the name, odds are you’ve heard of him in the Bjj world. Cyborg is 40 years old and has been competing at the highest level of the sport since he received his black belt in 2004. Abreu is 5’11” and competes at Super-Heavyweight weighing in at 222lbs (100kg).
Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu
Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu was born and raised in rural Brazil where he trained and received his black belt under the Nova Geracao affiliation. He is currently a 4th-degree black belt and the Head Coach and owner of the Fight Sports gym in Miami, Florida. The name Cyborg was given to Abreu after a car accident in 2000. The extent of the injuries was so severe, that Abreu received 300 stitches to his shattered arm and was told by doctors that there was very little chance that he could compete in BJJ again. 4 months later, Cyborg competed at Brasileiros (the Brazilian National Championships) and took silver in his division. Not only was this an incredible achievement for an injured athlete, the Brasileiros is considered to be one of the most difficult tournaments in world Bjj.
Cyborg’s fighting style has always been influenced by his size and power. Most notably, he has developed his own guard, the Tornado guard. Essentially, this is an inverted (upside down) half guard. From here, Cyborg tends to leverage opponents on an outstretched leg and sweep them up and over his own head. From there, triangles and armbars often present themselves to Cyborg which is reflected in the number of submissions from that position. Although the majority of his success has come from chokes and armbars, Cyborg has scored a heel-hook as recently as early 2020. This submission came against Kaynan Duerte, one of the most successful black belts in recent years winning the ADCC Championship in 2019. This showed Cyborg’s willingness to alter his game in order to stay competitive
Cyborg has been prolific in terms of championships and medals on the biggest stage over the past 15 years. His most recent ADCC absolute win came in 2013. For many, this is the most competitive and revered title in world jiu-jitsu. Cyborg won the IBJJF no-gi title in 2017, 2012, 2011, and 2010. He won the IBJJF European title in 2005, just one year after receiving his black belt. For many grapplers, winning gold at an IBJJF regional tournament is a career-long goal, not something that is achieved just months after receiving your back belt.
Despite dominating the super-heavyweight division for so long, Cyborg has met a potential match in recent years. The ever-rising and ever-confident Gordan Ryan has proved too much to handle for Cyborg. In 2017, Ryan tapped Cyborg with a heel-hook in the ADCC absolute division. A year later, a much-anticipated rematch took place in the No-Gi Worlds, O-87kg final. Despite a close opening, Cyborg was disqualified for apparently striking Ryan. We will have to wait for an see whether a third installment is on the cards in the near future. Despite this, however, Cyborg’s recent record is near-flawless and despite closing in on 40, he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.