Nicky Rodriguez is at the very top of the professional grappling world as a two-time ADCC silver medalist and trained with many of the best MMA fighters on the planet over the years. This is pretty commonplace due to the fact that MMA fighters will often seen out high-level training partners in each of the individual disciplines they practice. Rodriguez was even supposed to help Ciryl Gane prepare for his UFC heavyweight world championship fight with Jon Jones. That means he’s in a pretty unique position to name the best grappler in the MMA world and has a much better insight than most people on the planet.
Rodriguez was asked this in a recent interview and he knew immediately who he was going to pick:
“Oh, Gilbert Burns, in my opinion, is somebody I’ve rolled with that has some of the best jiu-jitsu in the MMA world. Gilbert has a lot of tenacity when he moves. He moves with bad intentions. He’s hard to control, good guard passing, hard to submit, and you know, just hard to kill in general.
Burns would probably be pretty high on anyone’s list really, he’s an IBJJF world champion in both gi and no gi grappling and won a bronze medal at ADCC 2015. He’s put those grappling skills to very good use during his career as an MMA fighter too, and currently sits comfortably within the top 5 of the UFC welterweight division. Throughout his years as a UFC fighter he’s beaten elite strikers like Jorge Masvidal and Stephen Thompson, along with top grapplers like Demian Maia and Gunnar Nelson. Rodriguez is well aware of his achievements and combining that with his firsthand experience with Burns on the mats, he was confident in his answer:
“So, Gilbert Burns is definitely one of the best jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world of mixed martial arts.”
The interview with Nicky Rodriguez where he explained that he thinks Gilbert Burns has the best grappling in MMA was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of MMA Mania: