3 UFC Stars with Strong Judo Background
Judo remains one of the most effective disciplines in MMA, so it is no surprise that so many fighters in UFC have a strong background in the sport. Here is a look at three UFC stars who are using some of their judo skills to dominate the Octagon.
Former UFC lightweight champion Khabib Nurmagomedov is currently retired from professional MMA fighting, however, he has been linked with a return to the sport. The 33-year-old has a 29-0 record, with wins over the likes of Conor McGregor, Dustin Poirier and Justin Gaethje. Eight of his wins came by knockout, while 11 of them were by submission.
Nurmagomedov will be keeping a close eye on the result of the showdown between Alexander Volkanovski and Max Holloway later this year. Volkanovski is the -200 favorite in the bet on sports online odds for the fight. If he prevails, he may then step up in weight and push for a mouth-watering clash with the Hall of Famer.
The black belt holder is an International Master of Sport in judo. It would be great to see his grappling skills once again in the Octagon if he does decide to make a return to the sport in the near future.
Women’s pound-for-pound number one Valentina Shevchenko is considered one of the greatest female MMA fighters in history. The UFC flyweight champion is particularly impressive on the ground where she is able to force submissions from her opponents.
Shevchenko is a black belt holder in judo and her fighting style today in the UFC reflects that. The skills she developed in judo are proving very useful inside the Octagon.
The 34-year-old is set to face Taila Santos at UFC 275. If victorious, it will be her seventh straight successful title defense.
Shevchenko has won world championship medals in Muay Thai, she is undefeated in professional boxing and has competed at the World Combat Games. When she retires from UFC, she may decide to have another shot at judo at the highest level.
UFC featherweight champion Amanda Nunes is a brown belt holder in judo. Although she did not continue in the sport, it has helped her on her journey to success.
Nunes has numerous records in the UFC, including the most stoppages in the history of the bantamweight division. She has had wins over the likes of Shevchenko, Ronda Rousey and Holly Holm.
The Brazilian suffered her first defeat in seven years when she lost to Julianna Pena at UFC 269. Nunes will be looking to avenge that loss in her rematch when the pair meet again at UFC 277.
Given what the three fighters have achieved, it would be no surprise to see more of the biggest names in judo try their hand at the UFC at some point in their careers.