Tom DeBlass – BJJ and MMA Veteran

Tom DeBlass is an American grappler, BJJ black belt and retired MMA competitor, who fought for Bellator and is a UFC veteran. He is also a successful coach. At his Ocean County Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy, he helped to create athletes such as ADCC veteran Garry Tonon and World Masters champion Jen Allen Russell. 

Tom DeBlass biography

Early life

Thomas David DeBlass was born in New Brunswick (New Jersey) in 1982. He is associated with the martial arts since being a kid. Tom started training taekwondo at the age of 5 and was stick to it for the next 13 years. However, that wasn’t the only sport he was involved in. As a teenager, for example, he dedicated more time to Athletics. DeBlass specialized in long jumping and even become one of the best in this discipline in the state at the high school level. Unfortunately, an injury stopped his career at the age of 18.


However, every cloud has a silver lining and in the end, we can say that this injury wasn’t so bad for him. This is because thanks to it Tom DeBlass came to BJJ. When he could no longer train athletics, he was looking for something to do instead. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu turned out to be perfect for him because it fulfilled his need for competing which remained after training long jumping. 

Tom during his BJJ journey was mostly related to Ricardo Almeida’s gym. He stayed there for through all Brazilian Jiu Jitsu belt system, earning his black belt in 6 and a half years. At the age of 24, he opened his own academy (Ocean County Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu) and started coaching career. 

Sport career 

As a BJJ competitor Tom DeBlass won such titles as Pan American and World Championships. He is also a three-time ADCC North American Trial winner and ADCC veteran. Later he fought professionally for Ring Of Combat. It was quite successful for him. From the year 2010 to 2012 he won seven straight fights there (3 by decision, 2 by TKO and 2 by submission). This translated into his fighting in the UFC. 


As his debut in UFC at the year, 2012 Tom DeBlass fight against Cyrille Diabate and lost by Majority Decision. In his second UFC fight, he faced Riki Fukuda. This time Tom lost by Unanimous Decision. After that Tom announced his retirement from MMA. He explained this decision by wanting to focus on the family, academy and helping his students to achieve their goals. It all happened in 2012.

Bellator MMA

While explaining his decision about retirement Tom said his need for fighting was fulfilled, but it turned out not for long. DeBlass returned from his retirement quiet quickly, because in 2013 and started fighting for Bellator MMA. His debut was at Bellator 95 where he faced Carlos Brooks. Unlike his fights in UFC, the Bellator MMA turned out to be just as happy for him as the Ring of Combat. He won the fight by TKO at the end of the second round after the doctor decided that Brooks could not continue. In his second fight for this organization, Tom fought against UFC veteran Jason Lambert. He won the competition through knockout in the first round.

Coaching career

Outside competition and sports in general, Tom was able to earn his college degree in Special Education. He was even teaching briefly at a local elementary school. The role of the teacher for sure helped him in running his own gym. That he is a good trainer testify the fact that from Ocean County Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy come such famous grapplers as Jen Allen Russell, Kyle Cranmer or Garry Tonon. During his practice as a trainer, he also developed over 20 black belts and is responsible for over 350 students. Moreover in last years, he has expanded his activity and created several academies across the US, Canada and even spread worldwide to Iceland. DeBlass is also giving a lot of seminars around the globe and making some instructional videos. 

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