Andre Galvao – BJJ Athlete

Andre Galvao

Andre Galvao’s beginning in martial arts

Andre Galvao grew up in the Vale da Paraíba region of Brazil after being born in São Sebastião, São Paulo. The first martial art that he would begin practicing is Judo under his original sensei Calasans Camargo.

Sensei Calasans would play a big part in André’s childhood. Giving Galvão his very first Gi to train in. Deco as Galvão was nicknamed would keep his interest in Judo for a few years and be successful at it. 

His brother practiced Jiu Jitsu and was one of the best in the region at his rank. This would lead Deco to train under his first BJJ instructor Luis Carlos “Careca” Dagmar at 14 years old.

Careca would train Andre Galvao for two and realized that he could be a really special talent at Jiu Jitsu. Feeling that his small school couldn’t help André reach his potential, Careca offered to send him to a more competitive school.

Date of Birth:September 29th, 1982
Place of Birth:São Sebastião, São Paulo, Brazil
Team:Atos Jiu Jitsu
Location:San Diego, TX
Height:5 ft 7 in (1.70 m)
Weight:170 lb (77 kg; 12 st)
Weight Class:Welterweight
Martial Arts Record(s):5-2(MMA), 157-23(BJJ)
Championships:10x BJJ Champion, 2x ADCC Champion, 4x ADCC Superfight Champion, 11x BJJ Pan Champion

Andre Galvao begins training with Fernando Tererê

With Careca’s blessing, Andre Galvao was sent to train under BJJ champion Fernando Tererê. At this time, Tererê was considered one of the best in the world. Having won every major BJJ championship in Gi with a submission win over Marcelo Garcia.

Professor Careca was right that his student Deco would prosper in a more competitive atmosphere. Under Tererê, André took his game to another stratosphere.

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André Galvão rips through the purple belt division

When Andre Galvao came to train with Fernando, he began competing at the purple belt level. During his time at this rank, he had done what know other BJJ competitor had done before him.

Andre Galvao would go on to become the first purple belt to become a grand slam champion. Winning the IBJJF World Championship, Pan Championship, and Brazilian National Championship.

This accomplishment got the Brazilian BJJ community all talking about him. In his last 9 months as a purple belt, Andre Galvao would not lose one match in any competition he entered.

After accomplishing everything he could at the purple belt rank, Galvão was awarded his brown belt from Tererê.

Andre Galvao
Andre Galvao

Andre Galvao road to black belt

At the rank of brown belt, it was business as usual for Deco. He would tear though the brown belt division just like he had done when he was a purple belt.

Repeating all of championship wins in 2004 and was designated to receive his black belt. Unfortunately during this time, his instructor was dealing with some substance abuse issues.

This would push Galvão’s graduation back a few months. The other person left in charge of the academy, Eduardo Telles, would oversee Deco’s graduation.

He would take him to his original instructor Careca’s academy, where his first master could see him receive his black belt. It was an emotional experience for André with many of his family and original teammates there to see his promotion.

André Galvão early run as a black black

After being promoted in 2005, it was assumed by many that Andre Galvao would take over the world of Jiu Jitsu. Which is exactly what he did.

In 2005, he would earn double gold at the Pan Championship and cap off the year by winning another world title.

Then in 2006, he would win Pans again, but come up short of another world title. During this time this was toward the end of Galvão’s time training at Fernando’s academy.

The problems in the academy really started to become a distraction, so André moved to join Brasa Clube de Jiu-Jitsu. Here he would have a fresh start with no distractions.

André Galvão creates Atos Jiu Jitsu

After spending a year at Team Brasas, André decided that he would open his own gym. Having his own place to train and teach his students.

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He and his friend Ramon Lemos founded Atos Jiu Jitsu in San Diego, California. This would be the base for what would become a dominant affiliation in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu.

André Galvão’s time as an MMA fighter

Around the same time Andre Galvao would co-found Atos Jiu Jitsu, he would make the leap to competing in MMA. He would make his debut in August of 2008 in Santa Monica, California winning by armbar in the second round.

André would follow up his debut win with two more wins by armbar. Then he would suffer a close split decision loss to Jason High at Dream 10 in Japan.

His last 3 fights would take place within Strikeforce and would go 2-1. The last fight was a TKO loss to future UFC Welterweight Champion Tyron Woodley.

After this fight, André Galvão would announce his retirement from MMA and hasn’t fought since. Although he has stated that he may return to compete in the sport one day.

Andre Galvao
Andre Galvao

Andre Galvao becomes the ADCC king

During his 3 years as an MMA fighter, André really didn’t compete in Jiu Jitsu that much. But once he retired from fighting, he returned his attention back to Jiu Jitsu.

This time he had his goal set on winning the ADCC championship. The only major Jiu Jitsu championship that has eluded him during his career. Place 2nd once and 3rd twice in the competition.

He would spend a year specifically training to become the ADCC champion. Leading up to the event, Deco would go 12-1 in preparation for the tournament.

The 2011 ADCC took place in Nottingham, England. André would compete in the 88 kg division against some really tough competition. That included Gunnar Nelson, Palhares, and Pablo Popovitch.

He would make a clean sweep through his division to win his very first ADCC gold medal, but he wasn’t done. Deco would then win the absolute division to become a 2 division champion.

Since he won the absolute division that year, that meant that he had a superfight at the next ADCC. Facing prior absolute division winner Braulio Estima, which he won by RNC.

READ MORE:  Jaqueline Amorim

Galvão would continue his reign as the king of ADCC with 3 more super fight wins. Beating Cyborg Abreu (2015), Claudio Calasans(2017), and Felipe Pena.(2019)

Andre Galvao wins more championships and his retirement

In between competing in the ADCC, Andre Galvao would continue adding championships to his resume. Winning 3 IBJJF championships, 2 more Pan Championships, and 3 World Cups.

This was one of the most decorated runs in the history of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Then after beating Felipe Pena at the 2019 ADCC championship, Andre Galvao would announce his retirement from Jiu Jitsu competition.

Turning his attention to becoming a full time coach and continuing to grow his BJJ affiliation Atos Jiu Jitsu.

The growth of Atos Jiu Jitsu

When Andre Galvao first founded his Atos Jiu Jitsu academy it was just one gym. In nearly 14 years since he co-founded the academy it has become a full fledged Jiu Jitsu affiliations.

Today there are numerous Atos affiliates around the US and Brazil. Producing some of the best Jiu Jitsu athletes in the world.

As a coach, Andre Galvao has helped train world champions nearly every year since the academy was founded. Making it one of the top affiliations in the world.

Atos vs DDS

In the last few years, a bitter rivalry has formed between the Danaher Death Squad and Atos. Particularly between Galvão and current ADCC absolute champion Gordon Ryan.

At first they were friendly, going back and forth about having a match. Then it started to get personal between the two.

The conflict reached a boil point at a Who’s #1 grappling event in 2021. On two separate occasions, Ryan slapped Andre Galvao in the face during this event. Before and after the event.

Andre Galvao comes out of retirement

In late 2021, news broke that André would be coming out of retirement to face Gordon Ryan at ADCC 2022.

This is a match that the BJJ community has been waiting for and hopes really does take place next year. Pitting the best from the prior generation against the best of the current generation.

Andre Galvao’s legacy

The legacy of Andre Galvao is one of the greatest achievements that any Jiu Jitsu competitor has ever accomplished. As a BJJ athlete, he has won 26 major championships in his 2 decades of competing.

On top of this, he is also an accomplished BJJ coach with over a dozen world champion students. His affiliation Atos has also become one of the premiere Jiu Jitsu affiliations in the world.  Andre Galvao resume is unmatched and may never be replicated again.