Rafael Barbosa, known as “Formiga” or ant in English, is one of the most important jiu-jitsu figures in the last decade, not just because of his competitive skill but also for his ability to gather top athletes and lead his influential team, Double Five.
When it comes to competition, Barbosa is a nine-time world master, eleven-time Pan American master, world pro, and Brazilian national champion. However, one of Barbosa’s greatest achievements was co-creating the Soul Fighters jiu-jitsu team that brought together some of the best athletes in the sport.
Formiga is a Rio de Janeiro native who started jiu-jitsu at the young age of 11. He began his training with Andre “Dedeco” Almeida and after eight years of hard work and dedication to the sport, Barbosa received his black belt at the age of 19. Six years later, Formiga and some of his friends, including world champion Augusto “Tanquinho” Mendes, joined forces to create the Soul Fighters team which would be a collaboration of several teams coming together.
In 2010, Barbosa moved to the United States to teach in a gym in Connecticut. Nine years later he left Soul Fighters and founded a new team, Double Five, alongside his friend Leandro “Tatu” Escobar. Double Five now has about 65 affiliates and several high-level athletes, such as Eduardo Avelar, Rodrigo Lopes, Diogo Araujo, Daniel Amorim and Segio Soares.
9x Black Belt Master World Champion
11x Pan American Champion
CBJJ Brazilian Nationals Champion