Beating a bigger opponent

How To Beat A Bigger & Stronger Opponent in BJJ, Blog post from Jon M


After recently beginning back at training BJJ at the MMA Academy Liverpool, with rusty technique and a gas tank of 1960’s lawnmower, I did have one difficulty.  That was how to defeat the bigger opponent.


My normal BJJ game and contingencies when sh@* hits the fan are totally different against a bigger and much stronger opponent.  My sweeps felt like I was quad curling 10 gorillas, which I am still recovering from now.  Like any half decent BJJ player, I went back to the drawing board to see how I can stop this or at least prevent it from happening less.  It’s like any sport when your cardiovascular has hit its maximum you are bound to make some mistakes.  But that is another kettle of fish, which I have discussed in a previous blog.


Getting off the subject, a close example is when a new white belt is against a much more smaller blue or purple belt.  How are they able to beat that larger opponent each time?  The answer to this is strategy and technique – they could figure out a game plan just to beat you in that 5, 6, 10 minute roll.


Here are a few tips that may help next time you don’t want to be a beached whale:


  1. Be Compact – Do not let your opponent flattened you and get your shoulders on the mat. They will just smash you! You will tire so quick trying to escape because you will need to use much more force. Always look for an underhook and be on your side ready to bump/scoot out.
  2. Tire your Opponent – Larger opponents will have to carry more weight when training/competing which in turn is naturally more fatiguing. An example of this is Heavyweight boxer’s speed and agility compared to a Lightweight boxer. Floyd Mayweather may not be able to take a punch from Vladimir Klitschko but he would still dance rings around him. Therefore don’t let them rest at any moment; bigger guys will tend to roll by exploding in short spurts. If you keep attacking, they will not be able to recover and will then gas out. At this point take full advantage!
  3. Better Technique – The most important element in BJJ, and in any given sport. Technique will always prevail, and it is always your back up when you are gassed! Keep refining your technique through hours of drilling and rolling with numerous different styled BJJ players.
  4. Take the Back – The best BJJ guys in the world when giving them the opportunity will always no doubt take your back! The reason behind this is because it is hard to muscle out of such a position. Positions like mount or side control against a bigger opponent have more of a chance of exploding and reversing that dominant position. So work on transitions and submissions to take back of your opponent.
  5. Be Quicker & Busier – Larger guys are usually slower (don’t get me wrong you will get the odd freak like Brock Lesnar), so take advantage by being more explosive, active and aggressive.
  6. Footlocks – Like back attacks, it is hard to muscle out of foot locks nor can you build muscle on your ankle joint, making it a week joint compared to the shoulder or elbow. Always attack this weak joint, and if it fails it will give them something to think about


These are just some ideas, which have worked for myself in the past, so the next time you in training BJJ, try and implement such aspects into your game against the bigger guys.