The first time I paid attention to Erberth Santos was in this highlight video of him doing jumping back takes. It only takes a few reps of this move yourself to learn how hard it would be to hit against someone decent.
I was impressed. I looked him up. Oh yeah, I remembered this guy. He’d won brown belt Worlds, and Pans, and Brazilians. At his weight and absolute. He was TLI, which only made him scarier. I knew he was climbing the ladder of the 1%. I thought “it’ll take a while.” But when I saw him break Pena’s arm I was like “damn.” He lost that match because Pena toughed it out. I knew then one day Pena would be due for some payback. And he was.
When I saw him beat Andre Galvao at his own game (takedowns) at Abu Dhabi Pro ,I was confused. This is one of the best takedown-based players in the game. Arguably the most well rounded in accomplishments player of all time.
When I saw him jump to mount when Pena tried to pull guard at the same tournament, I was blown away. If you follow high-level jiu jitsu then you know that kind of stuff doesn’t happen at that level. Ladies and gentleman, there’s a new sheriff in town.
If you’re not up to date on the latest happenings of worlds this year, then you may not have heard that Erberth has already beaten Romulo Barral (by 9 points!) and armbarred Bernardo Faria (in the semis)! Faria – last years absolute champion. (Mind you Rodolfo and Buchecha were out but lastibility is half the battle.) Faria- a guy who used his basic over-under pass to pass Leandro Lo’s guard (again)!
Erberth Santos is a savage. Whether it’s because he just has a bigger genetic window or more chemical enhancement, (I imagine all the high level players having some conversation to the effect of “how much more did he take than us!?!?”), we’ll never know.
He can’t beat Buchecha, he’s too big. But in the summer of 2016, Erberth Santos might just be the best pound for pound jiu jitsu player on the planet.