#53 Helio "Soneca" Moreira


Helio 'Soneca" Moreira was bullied as a child and he jokes that he is still bullied today. But Helio has taken all the bullying, teasing, and doubt that people have put upon him and used it to become everything his doubters said he could never be.


The first time this now 6th degree Black Belt stepped on the mats he already considered it a victory and he was determined from that day to become a champion. This determination lead to exactly that when he won the very first Worlds as a Featherweight in 1996.


Professor Soneca came up with other legends of the sport like Renzo Gracie, and Vinicius Maghales, first under Jean Jacques Machado and then Carlos Gracie Jr. at what would eventually become the world-famous Gracie Barra Academy. He then went on to become a legendary coach, at times working with champions Anderson Silva, Vanderlei Silva, Alan Belcher, and many other greats in BJJ and MMA.


Soneca which means sleepy in Portuguese is anything but, he fights, coaches, and lives life in a very boisterous, joking, and larger-than-life manner, one that is much bigger than his 5' 6" frame. He believes that technique can conquer the larger, stronger opponent and has proven this philosophy time and time again on the mats by being as he states, a lion on the inside and a little cat on the outside.


Helio Soneca has another nickname, "The Legend" and he earned that name by using his skills and technique to beat some of the biggest names in BJJ.

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