Judo ufc

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Best judo players in MMA

Ranking Designed By kaonohiokala


  • 1

    Rick "Ghengis" Hawn
  • 2

    "Rowdy" Ronda Rousey
  • 3

    Karo "The Heat" Parisyan
  • 4

    "Sexyama" Yoshihiro Akiyama
  • 5

    Hector "Showeather" Lombard
  • 7

    "Stun Gun" Dong Hyun Kim
  • 6

    Satoshi Ishii
  • 8

    "The Last Emperor" Fedor Emelianenko
  • 9

    Kazuhiro "Kaz" Nakamura
  • 10

    Manny "The Anvil" Gamburyan
  • 11

    Shinya "Tobikan Judan" Aoki
  • 12

    Hayato "Mach" Sakurai
  • 13

    "The African Assassin" Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou
  • 14

    Hidehiko Yoshida
  • 15

    "Judo" Jim Wallhead
  • 16

    Yoshiyuki "Zenko" Yoshida
  • 18

    Jimy "The Kid" Hettes
  • 17

    Kazuo "Grabaka Hitman" Misaki
  • 19

    Rory "Red King" MacDonald
  • 20

    Valentina "Bullet" Shevchenko
  • 21

    "柔道の牙" Taylan Yuasa
  • 22

    Fabrício "Vai Cavalo" Werdum
  • 23

    Kayla Harrison
  • 24

    Louis "Da Last Samurai" Smolka

Ranking Contributors

As Tapology users create their own lists, the consensus rankings will update in real-time. For Best judo players in MMA, the 100 most-recently updated member lists will be included.

Sours: https://www.tapology.com/rankings/647-best-judo-players-in-mma



Judo is a modern martial art, combat and Olympic sport, created in Japan in 1882 by Jigoro Kano. Its most prominent feature is its competitive element, where the objective is to either throw or takedown an opponent to the ground, immobilize or otherwise subdue an opponent with a pin or force an opponent to submit with a joint lock or a choke. Strikes and thrusts by hands and feet as well as weapons defenses are a part of Judo, but only in pre-arranged forms (kata) and are not allowed in competition or free practice (randori). A Judo practitioner is called a judoka.
The philosophy and subsequent pedagogy developed for Judo became the model for other modern Japanese martial arts that developed from koryū (traditional schools). The worldwide spread of Judo has led to the development of a number of offshoots such as Sambo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Contest (shiai) is a vitally important aspect of the discipline and Judo became an Olympic sport for men in the 1964 Games in Tokyo.

Several Judo practitioners have made an impact in Mixed Martial Arts. Notable Judo trained MMA fighters include former Russian national Judo championship Bronze medalist Fedor Emelianenko, UFC fighters Karo Parisyan, Antonio Silva, Rick Hawn, Hector Lombard, Olympic medalists Hidehiko Yoshida (Gold, 1992) and Ronda Rousey (Bronze, 2008).
Judo has been one of the primary martial arts displayed in Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) competitions since MMA’s inception.
The first official MMA fight, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), was held in 1993. It was advertised as a “no holds barred” fight. At the time, the public perception was that a larger/stronger human could dominate a smaller/weaker human. The fighters came from various martial arts or sports fighting backgrounds, including Judo, Karate, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, Boxing, Wrestling, Tae Kwon Do and Kickboxing. They fought until the opponent was knocked out, tapped out (stopping the fight by tapping their hand), or the referee stopped the fight. The winner of the first Ultimate Fighting Championship was a small Brazilian, Royce Gracie, who used Judo/Jiu-Jitsu submissions to defeat opponents twice his size.
Royce Gracie is famous for his Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a martial art that is derived mainly from Judo.
Many MMA fights are ended by submission holds most of which derive from Judo. “Chokeholds are common in Jiu-Jitsu, Judo and Submission Wrestling, and most trainers discuss how fighter need to experience these techniques in order to learn how to resist them”.
“Judo resembles MMA’s grappling aspects, particularly when both fighters are on the ground. MMA fans would easily recognize Judo’s submissions — a fighter might “tap out,” or concede the fight, when caught in a chokehold or an armbar”.
Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is derived from Judo which is derived from Jujitsu. The Japanese found judo superior to Jujitsu due to proof in competition where it involved both stand up and grappling techniques. “After a match-up between older styles of Ju-Jitsu and Judo at the Tokyo police headquarters, Judo was named the national martial art in Japan. It was the official art used by law enforcement in the late 1800’s and continues to be popular to this day. During World War II, many U.S. soldiers were exposed to the art of Judo and brought it back to America with them. The first issue of Black Belt magazine in America (1961) featured a sketch of a Judo throw and was a special Judo issue”.
Ronda Rousey, a female MMA champion, won a bronze medal in Judo at the 2008 Olympics. “Rousey eventually got an offer to try MMA and had her first professional fight in 2011. She has since defeated all her opponents with a Judo arm lock and is now a champion in the combat sport”.

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Sours: https://www.mmawiki.org/en/judo/
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Not so long ago and even here at this very website, we often hailed the influence of renowned judoka in the world of mixed martial arts, such as those who have made their presence felt in the Ultimate Fighting Championship since it was founded in 1993. Increasingly of late, there appear to be less participants who base their style around judo training.

While the whole point of mixed martial arts competitions is to provide greater variety, pitting combatants with different skillsets against one another, fewer accomplished judo practitioners are appearing in the UFC. Although many still take the path of competing in various other MMA championships, there are now less appearing in the biggest and most famous contest.

Instead, it seems that other combat sports and martial arts are enjoying a greater influence. Increasingly, many have emerged from backgrounds in boxing and wrestling, before switching to focus on the professional MMA scene. Meanwhile, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is now considered to be one of the most prominent martial arts, certainly amongst leading UFC stars.

Interestingly, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is actually a descendent art of judo, combined with and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, named after the brothers who developed their own self-defence system. They did so after learning traditional Kodokan judo from a travelling Japanese judoka, Mitsuyo Maeda, who was visiting Brazil in 1917.

Recent UFC Stars Who Demonstrate Judo Skills

Ronda Rousey is undoubtedly the most famous judaka to feature in the UFC, often hailed as the defining female athlete of a generation, blazing a remarkable trail from Olympic competition to UFC glory and international stardom. Inspired by her success, other women continue to carry the judo torch in the current UFC scene.

Perhaps the most accomplished judoka in modern UFC is Valentina Shevchenko, currently second in the ufc.com Women’s Pound-For-Pound Rankings. 33-year-old Valentina boasts an exceptional MMA record of 24 fights and 21 wins, while her older sister Antonina is also an accomplished judo expert, also boasting a great MMA record of 12 fights and 9 wins.

Amongst the men, Abdul Razak Alhassan relies heavily on his judo training and skills. The 33-year-old Ghanaian is known as “Judo Thunder” in UFC circles, for obvious reasons, establishing himself as a tough competitor who is difficult to beat. His overall MMA record stands at 10 wins and 4 losses in the middleweight and catchweight divisions.

The most successful male judoka in the UFC was Khabib Nurmagomedov, who retired after his last fight in October 2020 with a completely unblemished record. Winning all 29 of his professional fights during an unbeaten career, judo formed a crucial part of his overall technique and subsequent success, making him one of the greatest UFC fighters of all time.

Learning More About UFC Fighters

Given the constantly shifting MMA backgrounds of many UFC fighters, the wide variety of styles and techniques deployed makes the competition itself highly fascinating to watch. As we get to know more about each individual combatant, we also get to learn their preferred moves whenever facing different opponents.

Unpredictability is arguably one of the key elements which makes the UFC so popular, as TV and pay-per-view audiences continue to rise. We might see a clear favourite pitted against an opponent he or she is comfortably expected to beat, only for them to suffer a shock defeat, as the rival fighter produces an unstoppable move or strike.

This is also why betting on UFC has become equally popular, especially now that events are broadcast live around the whole world. Of course, it’s always wise to do some research regarding each fighter, before they take to the octagon and before you back them to win or lose. Furthermore, there’s a huge choice of betting sites and fight markets now available.

Choosing where to bet can be a difficult choice, which is why visiting asiabet.org is worthwhile. Betting experts at Asiabet are fluent in the language of mixed martial arts, fully understanding of how it works and how to make the most out of every bet. This includes detailed guides explaining the types of UFC bets and what each market has to offer bettors.

All Martial Arts Have Their Own Merits

Due to such a wide and varied number of influences, UFC is a melting pot of varied martial arts and combat sports. Although some appear to have become more popular than others, amongst the leading fighters, it doesn’t mean to say that use of judo techniques are now obsolete in the UFC.

Quite the contrary, because there is always room for innovation amongst combatants. That’s precisely what keeps the competition fresh and challenging. Fighters aim to deploy new techniques and improve their own specific set of skills, often tailoring those techniques to enhance performance. This is why combatsportevents.com says judo will always have a prominent role to play in MMA.

Judo will always retain a permanent place within the UFC scene. It may not be as prevalent as the past, yet many top fighters will undoubtedly have trained or studied the martial art. Even if they don’t profess to having done so publicly, observers with keen eyes will always be able to spot how a certain throw or take down is performed, smiling with knowing satisfaction when seeing them in action.

Sours: https://www.judoinside.com/news/4707/Judo_having_less_influence_on_modern_UFC_fighting_technique
Karo Parisyan - Judo in MMA (Highlights)

Musa Betsu Kyu Judo club

Gegard Mousasi

In case that wasn’t convincing enough of a resume, here’s an analysis of some of her best Judo techniques used in MMA:

2.Yoshihiro Akiyama (K-1 / UFC)YoshihiroAkiyama

Perhaps known more for his pop musical talents (with a massive following in Korea where he is known by his birth name “Choo Sung-hoon“) as well as his theatrics and elaborate ring entrances than his fighting skill, Akiyama was actually once Gold medal Judo champion at the Asian Games and represents both South Korea and Japan (he was born in Japan to “zainichi Korean” but nationalized Japanese parents).

He has pulled off some of the most impressive Judo throws in the history of MMA. Here are but a few examples:


3.Karo Parisyan (UFC / Bellator)KaroParisyan

Karo “the heat” Parisyan is well known for being one of the first to substantially represent and Judo in the UFC with some beautiful throws.

He was also quite vocal in saying that Judo deserved respect as a martial art for self-defense, and in particular, that his combined Gene Lebell “rough & tumble” American-style Judo and Gokor Chivichyan style of “freestyle wrestling-inspired” Armenian Judo could handle anything the BJJ community could throw at it.

4. Hidehiko Yoshida (PRIDE / Sengoku)HidehikoYoshida
Olympic gold medalist in Judo, Hidehiko Yoshida was the first judoka to cross-over into MMA (other than “Judo” Gene Lebell in his early cross-over matches against boxers, wrestlers and other martial artists in some real and some exhibition bouts). He is certainly the highest profile to do so, having one All-Japan championships, and Olympic gold twice. He faced an executioner’s list of heavyweights giants, muscle-bound light heavyweights and athletic middleweights, while himself fighting as what would be equivalent to a welterweight throughout his entire Judo career.


He is also very humble despite being at the top echelon of the Judo community in Japan, here’s an interview after his infamous match with Royce Gracie:

This was a match most of the world considers him to have won, however the Gracies disputed the claim and insisted the match result of a “Win by TKO” be reversed to a “No Contest” or their would never compete in Japan again.


5. Rick Hawn (Bellator)
Rick Hawn was a US national champion in Judo and a member of the US olympic Judo team in 2004 and competitor for a spot in 2008, although he failed to medal he always performed quite well on the international stage with a dynamic and exciting style of Judo. He has become the top modern Judo representative in MMA today.

6. Kazuhiro Nakamura (PRIDE / DREAM)KazuhiroNakamura
Kazuhiro “king kaz” Nakamura was an All-Japan champion and had a successful MMA career, very much inspired by and trying to follow in the footsteps of, Hidehiko Yoshida, someone he looked up to and whom eventually became a coach and mentor to him. In fact, the two of them fought in what was surely a bittersweet moment meant to be Yoshida’s farewell and “passing of the torch” to the next generation, but Yoshida out-pointed the younger fighter.

7. Hector Lombard (PRIDE / UFC)
Hector Lombard is not what you typically think of in a Judo practitioner showing how weaker opponents can overcome stronger by diverting their force and using their own strengths against them. Rather, he is an extremely intimidating presence in any MMA ring or cage as he is a physical specimen, but this means he is also a unique application of the efficiency of Judo techniques thanks to Olympic Judoka training, coupled with an overwhelming amount of strength. While he is getting into the twilight of his career, he’s still known as “one of the scariest fighters that no one wants to go up against” to paraphrase UFC commentator Joe Rogan.

8. Dong Hyun Kim (UFC)DongHyunKim
Not to be outdone by fellow Korean Judo practitioner Yoshihiro “sexyama” (Akiyama), he is known as the “stun gun” because fans claim he has stunning good looks, but also quick hands and can execute a variety of Judo and wrestling techniques with stunning agility. Unlike many Korean fighters who got their start in Taekwondo and other traditional Korean martial arts, he competed in Judo into his teenage years, and earned a black belt before moving over to competing in MMA. He still combines a large amount of Judo takedowns into his attacks and defences, whether to setup his striking or to gain a positional advantage.

9. Shinya Aoki (One FC / RizinFF)ShinyaAoki
Shinya “tobikan judan” Aoki was somewhat of a black sheep of the Judo community in Japan, frequently finishing opponents with ne waza techniques on the ground rather than engaging in tachi waza (standing up). He was particularly fond of chokes and painful joint locks, and was the subject of a few controversial matches and long-debated topics that lead to rule changes, such as whether or not “flying armbars” (which is what his nickname translates to being the master of, in case you needed an idea of his proficiency) should be allowed.

Eventually the flying armbars were indeed banned, not because of how easily he was injuring folks’ arms using the technique, but how easily folks all over the world were hurting themselves by attempting the technique and landing on their own head/neck/shoulders too hard due to not adequately planning their falls and/or practicing to get the timing and limited maneuvering options you have while airborn as close to perfect as possible to make this somewhat high-risk maneuver safe enough to attempt.

10. Fedor Emelianenko (PRIDE / Strikeforce / RizinFF)FedorEmelianenko

Fedor “the last emperor” Emelianenko ruled the heavyweight division for over a decade. He is extremely experienced in Judo techniques, mostly through his Sambo background. Sambo was the culmination of an effort by the Russian government and military to study several martial arts of the time in the 19th-20th century and strategically combine Russian folk style martial arts to give its citizens a sense of pride in their own discipline. Since Judo had become so well-known, it featured prominently in its technique set and still does today, where there are Russian names for almost all the 40 Kodokan throws and also some very unique Russian variations (such as “Russian grip”/2-on-1, cross-side attacks, etc).

The real goal though, was to create a new competition ruleset that would be useful in hardening Russian troops for hand-to-hand combat. Sambo (grappling) and Combat Sambo (grappling + striking) was born and Fedor emerged as its modern undisputed champion, before moving on to MMA and becoming the most feared heavyweight of his time. 

Sours: https://monctonjudo.wordpress.com/2017/06/20/top-10-judokas-in-mma/

Ufc judo

Judo "The Gentle Way": Why Judo Is so Underrated in MMA Today

Strikeforce Bantamweight Champ Ronda Rousey
Strikeforce Bantamweight Champ Ronda Rousey

Mixed Martial Arts is exactly what the name implies. Competitors combine the knowledge and techniques of many different Martial Arts into one fluid style that works for them.

There are many styles of martial arts used by fighters. Muay Thai, Tae Kwon Do, Boxing, Wrestling, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, Karate, Kickboxing, Sambo and many more.

But I want to talk about one that has been thrust into the spotlight recently. A martial art that is vastly underrated in MMA today.

I'm talking about Judo.

Judo has been in the spotlight recently because of Strikeforce Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey. An Olympic Bronze medalist in judo, she has used her skills to finish six straight fights, all by first-round armbar. That is an incredible feat.

Judo is not as popular as other martial arts in MMA. When you think of MMA you think Muay Thai, or Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. Judo in MMA can be extremely effective, if you know what you are doing.

Knowing Judo gives you some excellent moves to use in the cage. It improves your clinch work exponentially. Judoka do their best work while in the clinch. It can also be translated into excellent takedown defence.

Judo is no slouch on offense either. There are many explosive throws and tosses that can put your opponent on the mat in a bad position, or even at times a throw can stun your opponent while you swarm for the finish.

 A perfect example of this is Bellator lightweight Rick Hawn's victory over Levon Maynard at Bellator 33. It's embedded in this article. Check it out it won't disappoint.

And of course there are the submissions. Chokes are popular, as are joint locks, such as the dreaded armbar.

Judo is finally starting to represent in MMA. Many fighters are using it to great effect in their careers. Ronda Rousey is a Strikeforce champion. Rick Hawn is the No. 1 lightweight contender in Bellator. Jimy Hettes is a rising UFC featherweight prospect. There are a variety of other names including Kazuhiro Nakamura, Yoshihiro Akiyama and Karo Parisyan.

Judo is gaining popularity rapidly on the MMA scene. Hopefully with Ronda Rousey leading the way this underrated martial art can finally get the respect it deserves in the cage.

Shoot me a comment on the article or check out my Twitter @FuscoNation16.

Sours: https://bleacherreport.com/articles/1303377-judo-the-gentile-way-why-judo-is-so-underrated-in-mma-today
Karo Parisyan - Judo in MMA (Highlights)

Judo is a great contributor to MMA athletes in general. With our armlocks, jujis and throws judoka have the skills to shine within the octagon. We have chosen eight out of the many fantastic Judoka that will forever be remembered in the MMA world.

Ronda Rousey

Ladies first? By far one of the greatest Judoka in MMA of all time, Ronda Rousey had perfected the armbar, and had won via submission nine times. Despite having one of the weakest strikes out of all other female MMA fighters, she was able to become a WEC and UFC Bantamweight champion. She was a favorite in the sportsbooks almost every fight she was in up until she lost to Holly Holm.

Throughout her last five fights, her striking has improved. But she will always be known for ending fights once she gets a hold of her opponents’ arm. She has had a number of big wins during her career, with wins over Cat Zingano, Liz Carmouche and Miesha Tate. More women are trying to get a foot on the ground in MMA nowadays as Rousey was their example to reach forever fame.

Just like all the other fighters on this list, Rousey has a few losses as well. Coming from Holly Holm and Amanda Nunes in her most recent matches. As of right now Rousey competes in the WWE and it is currently unknown what her UFC future holds.

Hidehiko Yoshida

Hidehiko Yoshida was one of the most successful Japanese Heavyweight Judoka. He had earned multiple

gold medals throughout his career from places such as the Asian Games, World Championships and even the Olympics. Yoshida was known for being an outstanding submission expert. As it seemed like he won the match every time he was able to take his opponent to the ground.

However, he was also known for having poor striking skills, which was highlighted in his match against Mirko Cro Cop. Yoshida was TKOd after multiple low kicks, with Yoshida not being able to land or protect against strikes. His current MMA score is 9-8-1, with big wins over Tank Abbott Maurice Smith, Don Frye and Mark Hunt. Yoshida had retired back in 2010 after he lost to Kazuhiro Nakamura.

Kazuhiro Nakamura

Nakamura is another fantastic fighter, who is also the third dan black belt in Judo. He has competed in many different places, including the Pride FC and Dream, where he was able to win the Deep Middleweight title. Nakamura had always lacked in striking but like Yoshida his submission game was outstanding.

Nakamura had never won a big title in Judo but had a lot of success in the square ring. He has major wins over Igor Vovchanchyn, Murilo Bustamante, Evangelista Santos and Kevin Randleman. He was also able to fight a few matches in Heavyweight but ultimately dropped back down to Middleweight. His total MMA score was 21-13 and he had retired back in 2014.

Yoshihiro Akiyama

Akiyama is another third dan black belt in Judo, as well as the owner of the Asian Games and the Asian Championships gold medal. He currently has a deal with ONE FC, with a total MMA score of 14-6 with two no contests.

Akiyama has been known for his great kicks, something that is very rare for an MMA Judoka. Not to mention his effective armbar. He is Hero’s 7 Light Heavyweight tournament winner. He also has big wins over Alan Belcher and Denis Kang. However, he had poor performances when in the UFC, with a record of 2-5.

Hector Lombard

Hector Lombard was very successful in the Judo world way before he made the switch to MMA. He actually had won an international tournament in the 100kg + division. However, he will always be known as one of the best Judoka in MMA.

He is a former XFC Light Heavyweight champion, CFC Championship legend and Bellator Middleweight title holder. To make his career even more outstanding, he was even an inaugural AFC champion. His total MMA score is 34-10-1 to go along with two no contests.

The transition to the UFC was not very smooth for him though, as his record was 3-8 with one no contest. He had losses to Dan Henderson, Thales Leites and CB Dollaway just to name a few. He hasn’t retired yet but is currently sitting on a six-match losing streak.

Dong Hyun Kim

Dong Hyun Kim is known as one of the greatest Judoka in MMA out there, but unfortunately, he was never able to win a title. He was known for being an incredibly tough rival as well as being very difficult to knock out. But sadly, he wasn’t able to take that next step, always losing the big matches. For example, in the Deep Welterweight Championship he matched up against Hidehiko Hasegawa, that match resulted in a draw.

His total MMA score is 22-4-1 to go along with 1 no contest. However, he still battles it out in the UFC, holding a record of 13-4 with 1 no contest. He has big wins over Nate Diaz, Paulo Thiago and Matt Brown. With his most recent match being against Colby Covington back in 2017, where he was ultimately defeated by unanimous decision.

Karo Parisyan

This Armenian star was an outstanding Welterweight fighter, holding a record of 24-12 and one no contest. He is a former WEC champion and one of the best Judoka in MMA around. Much like many other Judokas, he lacked in strikes, with only two of his 24 wins coming in the form of a KO. However, he makes up for his lack of striking with a great submission game.

His transition to the UFC was also relatively smooth, as he holds a record of 9-4. That record is great for a fighter that has a weak striking game.

He has a few notable victories, against opponents such as Phil Baroni, Nick Diaz and Matt Serra. He was also unable to defeat Sean Sherk, as he lost to him multiple times.

Sours: https://www.judoinside.com/news/4107/Top_7_All_Time_best_Judoka_in_MMA

Now discussing:

judo black belts in mma

Judo is probably not the first martial art that comes to mind when you think about MMA. That said, you might be surprised to find out how many great MMA fighters have a black belt in judo. In fact, some of these judokas have even been MMA world champions and are arguably some of the greatest fighters of all time.

Of course, many of these fighters also have backgrounds in many other martial arts as well. That said, I do believe that judo is an underestimated martial art in the world of MMA. Of course, some aspects of judo would need to be modified for the octagon. However, this is also true for just about any martial art as well.

The biggest obstacle, of course, would be that today fighters will not be wearing a gi when they step into the ring. That said, the fighters on this list have proven that judo can be very effective in MMA. So without further ado, let’s look at my list of 15 judo black belts that have done well in mixed martial arts.

#1 Ronda Rousey

The first person that we have to mention is none other than Ronda Rousey. Not only is she one of the biggest MMA stars of all time, but she was also a judo star before that. Though everyone on this list is a judo black belt, Ronda really used her judo skills to defeat her opponents. She proved to the world that judo is a martial art that belongs in the octagon.

Ronda Rousey began training in judo at only 11 years of age. She quickly became one of the best judokas in the world winning a gold medal in the 2007 pan American games. In 2008 she became the first American woman to win a bronze medal in judo at the 2008 Olympics.

After the Olympics Ronda retired from judo and set her eyes on MMA. She made her MMA debut by defeating Hayden Munoz by armbar only 23 seconds into the fight. She would then go on to fight for the Strikeforce bantamweight championship against Meisha Tate. Ronda defeated Meisha via armbar within the first round.

She then became the first female fighter to sign a contract with the UFC. Ronda was the first-ever UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion. She would then go on a winning spree showcasing her judo skills until eventually losing her first fight to Holly Holms at UFC 193.

Ronda was instrumental in not only bringing light to judo in the UFC but also to women’s mixed martial arts. Without Ronda, I am not sure that women’s MMA would be as popular as it is today. Love her or hate her, you cannot deny her impact on MMA.

#2 Khabib Nurmagomedov

In my opinion, nobody utilizes his grappling skills in MMA as well as Khabib Nurmagomedov. Because of this, he might be the greatest MMA fighter on my list. He is the current UFC lightweight champion and is currently undefeated in MMA.

Khabib has a background in a few grappling arts including wrestling, sambo, and of course judo. Khabib found an interest in the grappling arts at a very young age. He was taught by his father who was also a wrestler and judoka.

His father was also the senior coach for the combat sambo national team in the Republic of Dagestan. Sambo is a Soviet martial art that was founded by Viktor Spiridonov and Vasili Oshchepkov. Vasili learned judo directly from the founder of judo Jigo Kano. S0 naturally, much of Russian sambo was adapted from judo.

As a teenager Khabibs father wanted him to compete in judo. So he would begin to train in judo at the age of 15 and is now a black belt. With his knowledge in wrestling, sambo, and judo, Khabib is certainly a very well-rounded grappler.

In 2008 Khabib made his professional debut in MMA. He quickly moved up in the ranks and later signed with the UFC. He is still undefeated at this time and is the current UFC lightweight champion. Though many of Khabibs takedowns are based in wrestling, you will often find him utilizing his judo skills in the octagon.

#3 Karo Parisian

Besides Ronda Rousey, the first judoka people often think about in MMA is Karo Parisian. Like Ronda, Kara would rely very heavily on his judo skills to win his fights in MMA. He and his family migrated to the United States from Armenia when he was 6 years old.

At 9 years old he began training in judo under the well known Armenian American judoka Gokor Chivichyan. Just a year or so later he also began training under the famous Judo Gene LeBell. Karo’s dream was to compete in the Olympics.

He competed in the Olympic judo trails, during which he got a call from UFC and was invited to come and compete. In need of money, he accepted the invitation and began his MMA career. Karo had a great career defeating big names such as Nick Diaz and Matt Serra.

In addition, he even gave George St-Pierre a challenging fight but ultimately lost via decision. Karo has done about as much as anybody to prove that judo can be an effective martial art in MMA. Check out this video demonstrating Karo’s judo throws in MMA.


#4 Fedor Emelianenko

The only fighter on this list that might give Khabib a run for the greatest MMA fighter on my list is none other than Fedor Emelianenko. If you are a newer or younger fan of MMA you might not be as familiar with Fedor Emelianenko as some of the MMA vets are.

That said, at one time Fedor Emelianenko was the in my opinion the best heavyweight MMA fighter in the world. In fact, many would even consider him to be the greatest MMA fighter of all time. He was a very unassuming person who often looked small compared to many of his much larger opponents. But his skills were on another level and he would somehow always come out on top.

Fedor is a black belt in judo as well as a master in sambo. If you watch Fedor’s fights you will see that he utilizes judo quite often in MMA. In addition, Fedor was also a very successful judo competitor. He did well in many high-level judo tournaments in his home country of Russia.

#5 Fabrício Werdum

Fabricio Werdum is another awesome judo black belt that still does well in MMA to this day. In fact, he was the one to finally put an end to Fedor’s nearly 10-year winning streak. In addition to being a judo black belt, Fabricio is also a very highly decorated BJJ black belt as well.

In fact, he is a four-time BJJ world champion and a former UFC heavyweight champion. That said, Fabricio is a very well rounded and skilled grappler and mixed martial artist. Oh and I almost forgot to mention he is also a two-time ADCC submission wrestling gold medalist as well. With all of these accomplishments, I might have to consider Fabricio the best grappler on this list.

#6 Hector Lombard

Hector Lombard is a 4th dan black belt in judo. He is without a doubt one of the best judokas on this list. He has won gold medals in national and international judo tournaments. After his successful judo career, Hector became a successful mixed martial artist.

Hector was the first-ever Bellator middleweight champion. He did very well in MMA defeating some big names including Jake Shields and Nate Marquardt. He is a great example of a fighter who was able to utilize judo in MMA. Check out this video of Hector successfully using judo on Jake Shields who is himself a world-class grappler.


#7 Vitor Belfort

Another Judo black belt that makes the list is none other than Vitor Belfort. Vitor began his martial arts journey with judo at just 9 years old. In addition to judo, Vitor is also a black belt in BJJ under Carlson Gracie.

Vitor had a very successful MMA career winning the UFC 12 heavyweight tournament championship and also becoming the UFC light heavyweight champion. He has been fighting for so long that he fought in the UFC back in 1997 when it was still a multi-fight tournament.

#8 Yoshihiro Akiyama

Yoshihiro Akiyama is a judoka and mixed martial artist from Japan. He began training in judo at just three years old. He is a 3rd dan black belt in judo and has won many high-level judo competitions. In 2001 he won the Asian judo championships as well as a gold medal in the 2002  Asian games.

In addition, he was the 2003 All Japan Judo Champion. He would then go on to have a very successful MMA career. He would successfully use judo both offensively and defensively to win his MMA fights.

#9 Don Frye

Now for my favorite fighter of all time, Don The Predator Frye. He was one of the most exciting fighters to ever step into the cage. Don Frye was always there to put up a fight. If you don’t believe me check out his fight with Yoshihiro Takayama.

Don Frye is a 2nd dan judo black belt as well as an all-around great martial artist. In fact, Don Frye was one of the first MMA fighters who had a background in multiple martial arts. He was the UFC 8 tournament winner and is a UFC Hall Of Famer.

#10 Dan Severn

Dan Severn was the first world-class wrestler to fight in the UFC. He is also a 5th degree black belt in judo. Dan Severn was also friends with Don Frye and perhaps even the one to convince him to grow an amazing mustache.

Dan Severn is also a UFC Hall of Famer as well a trainer and mentor of some great MMA legends including Rashad Evans and Rampage Jackson. Dan is an all-around great fighter and legendary grappler.

#11 Rick Hawn

Rick Hawn is another great judo black belt who has done well in MMA. He began training in judo at the age of 12. After he graduated high school Rick was invited to live at the Olympic training center in Colorado Springs.

He would train there for another 8 years at which point he qualified for the 2004 Olympic games where he would finish 9th place. After failing to make the 2008 Olympic team he would set his eyes on the world of MMA.

He had a very successful MMA career fighting mostly in Bellator. He had notable wins over notable MMA fighters including fellow judoka Karo Parisian. Check out Rick Hawn executing some world-class judo in MMA.


#12 Dong Hyun Kim

Dong Hyun Kim is a 4th dan black belt in judo. At 14 years old Dong Hyun Kim began training in judo in South Korea. He would then begin to cross-train in other martial arts as well including Hapkido and Taekwondo.

He then began to train in judo at the Yong In University. Don Hyun Kim would go on to have a very successful career in MMA. He had notable wins over some big names including Nate Diaz and Matt Brown.

#13 Kayla Harrison

Kayla Harrison is certainly the most decorated judoka on this list. In fact, she is the first American in history to win an Olympic Gold Medal in judo at the 2012 Olympics. She would even go on to win another Olympic Gold Medal in 2016.

She also has many other medals including a gold medal at the World Judo Championships. It goes without saying that she is the most accomplished judoka on this list when it comes to her judo career. The only reason she is not higher on the list is that she is still relatively new to MMA.

That said, she is currently undefeated with seven fights under her belt. With some time I do believe that she will continue to excel in MMA. I would not even be surprised to eventually see her as a UFC champion.

#14 Daniel Thomas Kelly

Dan Kelly is a 4th dan black belt in judo and an accomplished mixed martial artist. He began competing in judo when he was only 7 years old. He would then go on to become the 9 time Australian Judo champion.

He is the only judoka to be selected to compete for Australia in four different Olympic games. His last Olympic competition was in the 2012 Olympics.  After this, he would then go on to become the Australian judo coach for the 2016 Olympic games.

Dan Kelly also had a very successful MMA career. In fact, after his first MMA fight, he took off six years to focus on his judo career. He would then return in 2012 and did very well in MMA defeating well-known opponents such as Rashad Evans.

#15 Antonio ( Bigfoot ) Silva

The last judo black belt on this list is none other than Antonio “Bigfoot” Silva. At 6’4 and 285 pounds, Antonio is a force to be reckoned with. Antonio began training in martial arts at just 4 years old and would receive his black belt in karate at just 12 years old.

Antonio would then transition from karate to judo and BJJ when he was 17 years old. He holds black belts in both judo and BJJ. Antonio would go on to do very well in MMA. Defeating notable opponents such as Fedor Emelianenko, Alistair Overeem, Andrei Arlovski, and Travis Browne.


Sours: https://grapplingschool.com/15-judo-black-belts-who-have-done-well-in-mma/

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