In the early morning hours of Sunday August 7th, the IBJJF and the jiu-jitsu community learned of the tragic passing of Leandro Lo. Lo was not only an incredible champion on the mats but also an exemplary black belt, martial artist, and leader off the mats. His global influence, passion, and dedication to jiu-jitsu will forever be remembered and honored. Lo’s jiu-jitsu career started with humble beginnings at a social project in Sao Paulo, and he remained humble throughout all of his incredible achievements. He changed the culture of our sport, and his passing leaves a void in our community that we’ll feel for years to come.
As a competitor, Leandro Lo was one of the greatest to ever step on the mats. In 2012, Lo won Pan, Brazilian National, and Worlds gold as a lightweight, setting the stage for a decade long trajectory in competition. Another lightweight title in 2013 followed by middle and medium-heavy titles in 2014 and 2015, respectively, solidified Lo’s name in the history books. But despite all of his accomplishments, he showed no signs of slowing down. Over the next seven years, Lo would continue to win major titles, ultimately winning the Worlds in five different weight classes, a feat that has never been matched by another competitor.
Although Lo’s titles stand alone as incredible achievements, he was equally as revered for the way in which he competed. Whether he was competing in his first match of a tournament or the final of the Worlds, Lo always gave everything he had in each and every match. Even when it seemed that he had no gas left in the tank, he’d always find a way to pull off a mesmerizing technique, leaving the crowd chanting his name as he got his hand raised.
Despite all of his accolades and dominance as a competitor, Lo’s biggest contribution to jiu-jitsu was in the way he brought the community together. When he stepped on the mats, it didn’t matter what team you represented or what country you were from, you were cheering for Lo and celebrating his grit and tenacity. Those close to him will remember him for his smile, his positive energy, and the way he made everyone around him feel. Lo had a unique way of building strong bonds and friendships with not only his training partners and teammates, but even with his rivals on the competition mats. The jiu-jitsu community as a whole became stronger and more united because of Leandro Lo.
Rest in peace Leandro Lo Pereira do Nascimento. The jiu-jitsu community was extremely blessed to have you as our champion and you’ll forever be an idol to martial artists around the world. Our sincerest condolences go out to Leandro Lo’s family, friends, and everyone he impacted in the jiu-jitsu community.