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BJJ world champ Lucas ‘Hulk’ Barbosa moves to MMA, set for PFL debut

The Hulk will have his first MMA fight in nearly 10 years.

The recently announced PFL Challenger Series kicks off on Friday, February 22nd at Universal Studios in Orlando, Florida. The eight week series will have fighters across various weight classes compete for PFL contracts, with one fighter earning a contract each week. Making his PFL debut on the February 25th event is Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu world champion Lucas “Hulk” Barbosa, who will take on Troy “The Ghost” Green in the welterweight division. The Hulk spent the majority of his jiu-jitsu career competing in the medium-heavyweight division, which is around 195 lbs with the gi on.

Lucas is one of the most accomplished jiu-jitsu competitors on the scene today. Following first place finishes at the IBJJF Worlds and the Abu Dhabi World Pro in 2015 as a brown belt, Lucas was promoted to black belt by Andre Fabiano. A move to the US shortly after was accompanied by a switch to team Atos, a prolific competition team led by Andre Galvao.

Since moving to train full time in San Diego at Atos headquarters, Lucas has conquered nearly every major title in the sport. He’s won IBJJF gi Worlds, No-Gi Worlds, Pans, Europeans, American Nationals, and placed 3rd at the 2019 ADCC. His grappling style is very conducive to MMA, as he often favors an approach based on takedowns and positional control from the top. In 2021, Lucas competed mainly in no-gi matches, putting together an impressive 19-3 record with notable wins over Gilbert Burns, Leandro Lo, Matheus Diniz, and Yuri Simoes.

Prior to receiving his black belt and winning all those important grappling titles, Lucas compiled a 2-1 pro MMA record in 2012. After dropping a split decision in his debut in 2011, “Hulk” won his second fight by rear-naked choke and his third fight by TKO under the Roraima Show Fight banner.

In a November 2020 interview with BJJ Heroes, Lucas mentioned that he was training MMA at Atos with a few of his training partners that had MMA experience. Atos leader Andre Galvao recently signed with One Championship and the Ruotolo twins have also recently expressed interest in MMA, so Lucas may elect to do his training there rather than at a major camp.

You can catch the Hulk’s fight and the rest of the PFL Challenger Series on the Fubo Sports Network.