Is Judo Effective in MMA?

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Judo is a martial art that’s employed by millions all over the world. In addition to being a sport, it is also valuable for self-defense. But is Judo effective in MMA?

Judo is very effective in MMA. It is employed by some of the most successful fighters in the UFC including Ronda Rousey and Khabib “the eagle” Nurmagomedov. And a large number of MMA champions have black belts in Judo, which is a testament to Judo’s effectiveness.

But there’s more to know.

In this article, we’ll explore which MMA fighters use Judo and whether Ronda Rousey has a black belt in Judo. But we’ll also look at the differences between wrestling and Judo.

Let the fun begin.

Which MMA fighters use Judo?

Khabib “the eagle” Nurmagomedov, Ronda Rousey, Karo Parisian, Fedor Emelianenko, Hector Lombard, Yoshihiro Akiyama, and Vito Belfort, are some of the most excellent MMA fighters who use Judo.

All the aforementioned are superb Judokas and their fights reflect this fact.

Take Khabib. He’s one of the greatest MMA fighters ever. He was also the longest-reigning UFC lightweight champion.

He had 29 wins and no losses!

He’s so skilled that most people know that once he takes you down, you’re a goner. He takes opponents down and mauls them. He’s also skilled in sambo, wrestling, and Judo. But his Judo prowess can be seen in all his fights.

Is Ronda Rousey a black belt in Judo?

Yes, Ronda Rousey is a black belt in Judo. She started learning Judo at the age of 11 from her mother, AnnMarie De Mars, the first American to win a gold medal in the 56kg weight class at the World Judo Championship in 1994. Ronda Rousey currently holds a 6th-degree black belt in Judo.

Her mother encouraged her to take up Judo as a way to deal with her frustrations, as she was a slow learner.

She did. And the rest is history.

Ronda is incredibly riveting — a considerable chunk of her early fights were concluded in seconds! With her being the winner.

Before she got the chance to get to the UFC, she had proved herself as a master Judoka.

At the age of 17, she qualified for the 2004 Athens Olympics, at which she was the youngest Judoka. At that event, she did not win. But she won gold medals in the year’s World Junior Judo Championship and Pan American Judo Championship.

But how does Judo compare with Taekwondo?

That’s what I explored in a recent article where I shared the major similarities between Taekwondo and Judo, and whether TKD is effective in a street fight. But I also revealed who would win if both were to clash.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

What is the difference between wrestling and Judo?

Wrestling is a combat sport, while Judo is a martial art, and completely different uniforms are used. But also, Judo throws, joint locks, or chokes are not used in wrestling. Points and pinning an opponent determine a win in wrestling, as opposed to submissions in Judo.

Let’s explore the differences in some depth. We’ll look specifically at throws, pins, and holds.


Because of the attire (gi in Judo), throws are executed by grabbing an opponent’s jacket or belt, and you score a point when you’re able to land them on their back or side.

In most cases, the game is reset or finished, depending on the stage of the fight.

But in wrestling, the attire is almost always tight-fitting sleeveless. So, you can’t grab their attire! Getting a grip on an opponent is, therefore, harder in wrestling.

And, even when you do and can land them, the fight continues, as they would struggle to regain control.


Once you’ve been able to take an opponent down, one of the ways to win/score a point is to pin them. But there are differences in how pins are executed in wrestling and in Judo.

In Judo, you’d have to hold down the opponent for twenty seconds, and one of their shoulders must be pinned to the ground.

Or when you’re able to hold them down on the mat while you’re behind them.

However, in wrestling, both shoulders of the opponent must be pinned to the ground for three seconds for the pin to count.


In wrestling, submission holds such as chokes and arm-locks are not legal. But they are in Judo. In the former, takedowns get the same points. The only takedown that gets you more points is the one that translates to a pin.

You can also score points by pushing your opponent out of the scoring arena. But in Judo, different forms of takedowns score different points.

And pushing your opponent out of the arena gets you no points. In addition to this, leg grabs are illegal.

Agility and quickness are vital in both, but in addition to that, wrestling requires more energy and strength.

But can Judo be used in real fights?

That’s the theme of a recent article where I showed whether Judo is good for self-defense and whether it’s better than Karate. I also revealed whether it’s better than Muay Thai.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Does Judo help with street fights?

Judo helps with real fights because it equips one with skills to grab and throw opponents to the ground and use holds or chokes to subdue them. But it also teaches practitioners how to avoid injury if knocked down.

Unless your opponent is a trained fighter, Judo will give you an edge in street fights because it equips you with skills to be able to grab and throw folks who are stronger and bigger.

You could gently throw them, or if you so choose, throw them in such a way that they’d probably end up with a broken arm or back.

Once they’re on the ground, you could hit them with an arm-lock, and that could just be all you need. They’d most likely beg you or have to make peace with getting their arm broken!

The great thing is that you’d be able to do this with relative ease.

There’s a way you could pull an opponent toward you, plant one of your legs behind theirs, and trip them. In a fight, they could land on their head!

If they’re being tough, you could pull a Kani Basami on them, and if it’s properly executed, the fight’s over. Trust me. It’s a technique that’d catch your opponent unaware.

They’re thrown backward and are likely to hit their head on the pavement. One other thing that gives you an edge is that as a Judoka, you’re hip to how to break a fall. It’s a skill on its own.

Even if an opponent were to push you, even as you’re falling, you’re already positioning your body in a way that minimizes the impact of the fall.

But can you pull guard in Judo?

Luckily, that is what a recent article of mine is about. Pulling guard is used extensively in BJJ, which of course, is based, in part, on Judo. But I looked at what guard pulling is and whether it counts as a takedown. And I also shared effective techniques from BJJ that you can apply to Judo.

Click the link to read it on my site.

Which martial art is best for MMA?

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the best martial art base for MMA. This is because of the fact that most of the champions in the UFC have a black belt in BJJ. BJJ fighters just also need to know some boxing skills to both punch opponents and avoid being knocked out prior to initiating a takedown.

Once a person is gripped by an adept BJJ fighter and taken down, the odds that they could win are greatly reduced.

But of course, as the name implies, MMA involves multiple martial arts, not just one. So eventually, you’ll want to learn something like boxing, kickboxing, or Muay Thai to complement the BJJ.

BJJ equips fighters with skills that make them sneaky because almost any move or counter move by their opponent is an opportunity for the BJJ fighter to control and submit them.

Of course, the fighter who has mastered more than one style is always better equipped, and that’s what is at stake in MMA.

One of the reasons why BJJ is awesome is because, as anyone with experience of real fights knows, most fights quickly transition to the ground.

Of course, they start with both fighters being on their feet.

No matter how skilled a fighter is, if they lack grappling and ground fighting skills, they could be easily trounced by someone who’s hip to BJJ. It’s no exaggeration to say BJJ fighters are in their element when they’re on the ground.

What about Aikido? Why is it not used in the MMA?

That’s what I explored in a recent article where I shared Aikido techniques that are banned in MMA (if any) and which ones are allowed. I also shared UFC fighters who are hip to Aikido.

Just click the link to read it on my site.

Judo in MMA : is it good enough as a base?


In the article, we explored which MMA fighters use Judo and whether Ronda Rousey has a black belt in Judo. But we also looked at the differences between wrestling and Judo.

Then, we looked at whether Judo helps with street fights, and we wrapped things up by finding out the best martial art is the best for MMA.

Image by PranongCreative from Pixabay

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