BJJEE Rising Stars: Maryanne Mullahy, IBJJF Number 1 Ranked Female Brown Belt No Gi



Maryanne Mullahy trains and teaches out of Absolute MMA/Maromba in Melbourne, Australia. This world class brown belt won the Worlds as a blue belt in California in 2008, came second in purple belt in the gi and the no gi Worlds in California in 2009 and 2010. She is the current number 1 ranked female brown belt no-gi after winning her weight division and the absolute division at the no-gi worlds last year. Check out the interview with this competitor that is sure to make a big splash in the future in the black belt division:

1. Hi Maryanne, can you please introduce yourself to the BJJ Community of Eastern Europe?

My name is Maryanne Mullahy. I’m 26 years old from Melbourne, Australia and I’m currently a brown belt two stripes. I train and teach full time out of Absolute MMA in Melbourne under my coaches Thiago Stefanutti and Gustavo Falciroli.

I’m a 9x IBJJF medal winner. My biggest achievements are winning the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships in California in 2007 as a blue belt and winning both my weight division and the open weight division at the World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championships in 2013. I’m the current world number 1 ranked female brown belt in no-gi.

2. You have quite an interesting background. I understand that you hold dual citizenship (both Australian and Irish). Since you trained in the UK, how do you compare the growth of BJJ in the UK and Australia. What are differences and similarities between both scenes? Have you also trained in Ireland?:

When I finished high school I decided to take advantage of the dual citizenship so I moved to London for a year in 2008. It was a great opportunity for me to see what other gyms were like and experience other methods of training and mat cultures.

I believe the UK and Australia are similar to each other in the way that the sport attracts such awesome people. Some of my best friends in life are people who I’ve met through training. It’s great that no matter where you travel to in the world, as soon as you arrive you’ve got places to train and people to hang out with. I feel incredibly lucky to be part of such an amazing community. Unfortunately I didn’t get to train much in Ireland. But I was lucky enough to be able to return to England in 2013 where I spent 4 months training BJJ and MMA with the team at SBGi Manchester. Amazing place to train, I really enjoyed my time there.

World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship 2013. Maromba Academia Australia woman's team took 3rd place trophy (from L-R: Shantelle Thompson, myself, Thiago Stefanutt, and Livia Gluchowska).

World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship 2013. Maromba Academia Australia woman’s team took 3rd place trophy (from L-R: Shantelle Thompson, Maryanne, Thiago Stefanutt, and Livia Gluchowska).

3. Please tell us about your Jiu-Jitsu story (when and where did start training, your journey etc):

I first began training Brazilian Jiu Jitsu when I was 16 years old at John Will’s academy in Geelong, Australia. From the first class I was hooked and pretty much spend every evening after school training and weekends either training or competing.

Due to there being very few active female competitors when I started training, I found myself competing in the men’s divisions a lot from the age of 17 onwards. While living in England I did the Welsh Open where I competed in the mens purple belt division.

I still compete in the men’s divisions to this day, with the last time being in November 2013 where I competed in the mens brown belt division in an interclub competition called the MG (More Grappling) tournament run here in Melbourne.

 Maryanne competing with Gabi Garcia at the 2013 World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

Me competing at the 2013 World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship.

4. You compete a lot and have also done MMA and Muay Thai. Do you plan to have a career as a BJJ black belt and challenge the world’s best at black or branch out to MMA?:

In 2009 I decided to take some time off BJJ and focus on Muay Thai and wrestling. I loved the sport of Muay Thai because it was something completely new to learn and play with. Wrestling also added a great element to my Jiu Jitsu game- I developed a proper take down game (up until that point I’d always pulled guard) and enhanced my top control game.

After getting a good base in these styles (competing in a few wrestling comps and having a few muay thai fights), I decided to try MMA. I’m currently 1:1 in MMA.

My aim is to continue to do well in BJJ and hopefully compete against the world’s best in the black belt divisions one day. I’d also like to continue on with muay thai and MMA.


5. Please tell us about your BJJ academy, team and professor.

My jiu jitsu coach Thiago Stefanutti is a second dan Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Black Belt under Paulo Streckert (Maromba) and is also a Judo brown belt practitioner. My MMA coach Gustavo Falciroli is considered to be one of the best mixed martial arts fighters in Australia. Gustavo was awarded his black belt by Roberto Tozi and Roberto Godoi in 2003 and currently holds his 3rd Degree black belt. I feel very lucky to be part of such a great team with such outstanding coaches.

We have a really strong woman’s team at Absolute. Our team Maromba Academia Australia actually took out the woman’s 3rd place trophy at last year’s World Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi in California with just the three of us (Livia Gluchowska, Shantelle Thompson, and myself) doing so well in each of our respective divisions.

6. How would you describe your BJJ style and game?

I’d describe my game as being really technical with more of a guard focus. They say that woman have to be super technical as they are generally not as strong as the men they train with, and I believe that to be true. That being said, I’m told practically on a daily basis how “freakishly strong” I am by the guys I train with, haha.

7. Who are some BJJ players that you admire or model your game after?

BJJ players that I admire are Michelle Nicolini, McKenzie Dern, and Australian black belt Sophia McDermott. I love being able to watch these ladies compete, they’re so amazingly technical!

8. What’s next for you and your team in 2014?

I’m currently training hard for the World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship this April in Abu Dhabi. I’m also hoping to have a few MMA and muay thai fights this year if possible. And if I can afford the trip I’d like to compete competing at the gi worlds in California in June. My team are really hoping to get a strong contingent to go and compete at Worlds.

9. If you want to thank somebody or sponsors, feel free:

MA1 Apparel (http://www.ma1.com.au/) http://grapplingtournaments.com.au/

10. Thanks Maryanne and all the best!: Thank you for the opportunity!

I really appreciate it.