10 Best Judo Fighters In UFC History

There are many disciplines used in mixed martial arts. The very nature of MMA primarily relies on the fluid mixture of multiple forms of combat to enhance competition.RELATED: 10 Best Body Strikers In UFC HistoryJudo is one of the most prominent forms of combat used in mixed martial arts. There have been many notable fighters whose backgrounds in Judo have led to significant success in MMA. Judo utilizes throwing techniques and takedowns to secure a favorable position over your opponent. Japanese martial arts continues to grow in popularity due to its use in the UFC. Here are some of the best UFC fighters to incorporate Judo in their fights.

10 Karo Parisyan

This list would not be complete without mentioning Armenia’s Karo Parisyan. The former UFC welterweight contender is a black belt in Judo and a 10-time world champion in professional competition. He compiled a 9-4 UFC record and defeated notable combatants such as Matt Sera, Nick Diaz, and Chris Lytle.

Parisyan was a powerful Judo practitioner capable of dominating his opponents with throws and takedowns during his prime.

9 Dong Hyun Kim

Dong Hyun Kim was a force to be reckoned with during his prime. The Korean native is a 4th dan black belt in Judo and competed in the UFC for almost a decade.

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Kim’s success in the UFC came from utilizing his Judo background and taking his opponents down to the ground. He holds notable wins over Matt Brown, Nate Diaz, Erick Silva, and Paulo Thiago.


8 Yoshihiro Akiyama

Yoshihiro Akiyama had already established himself as a combat sports superstar in Asia before joining the UFC. The Japanese native holds two gold medals in the Judo competition and 15 wins in mixed martial arts.

Despite a relatively unsuccessful career in the UFC, Akiyama’s Judo pedigree is undeniable.

7 Fabricio Werdum

Fabricio Werdum is well-known for his skill in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. However, he also holds a black belt in Judo and used his Judo skills to complement his high-level grappling.

The former UFC heavyweight champion dominated opponents on the ground using his slick submission skills, ground and control, and fluid movement. He holds victories over Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira, Roy Nelson, and Cain Velasquez.

6 Yushin Okami

Yushin Okami was arguably the most successful Japanese fighter in UFC history. The former top-ranked UFC middleweight boasted a dominant submission game and powerful ground control.

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He holds a black belt in Judo and defeated Nate Marquardt, Mark Munoz, and Alan Belcher throughout his UFC career.

5 Vitor Belfort

It is easy to forget how good Vitor Belfort was on the ground. The former UFC champion spent most of the second half of his career knocking out his opponents rather than grappling them.

Belfort holds a black belt in Judo and used his ground game consistently early in his career to beat his opponents into submission. He holds victories over Wanderlei Silva, Luke Rockhold, Michael Bisping, and Dan Henderson.

4 Georges St-Pierre

Georges St-Pierre was incredibly well-rounded during his time in the UFC. He compiled a 13 fight win streak and defended his belt nine consecutive times before retiring.

St-Pierre was feared for his ability to successfully take his opponents down at will and make it look easy. Although he does not hold a ranking in Judo officially, his ability to use the discipline successfully was second to none.

3 Valentina Shevchenko

Valentina Shevchenko is widely considered the second greatest female mixed martial artist of all time. The Russian native is an extraordinary talent whose striking and ground game are equally impressive.

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The current women’s UFC flyweight champion has defended her belt six consecutive times and holds a black belt in Judo. Shevchenko is specifically good at securing takedowns using her powerful throws. After securing a takedown, she utilizes powerful ground and pound or submissions to get her opponents to quit early and often. Expect her to continue her dominance until a worthy challenge presents itself.

2 Khabib Nurmagomedov

Khabib Nurmagomedov holds a black belt in Judo and an International Master of Sport in Judo. The former UFC lightweight champion is considered one of the most dominant grapplers in MMA history and for good reason.

He secured 11 wins by submission and holds the record for most takedowns landed in UFC history at 21. If Khabib was able to grab a hold of his opponent, it would only be a matter of time until the fight would go to the ground. Nurmagomedov will forever be remembered as one of the most dominant fighters in UFC history.

1 Ronda Rousey

It took a special kind of talent and personality to truly elevate Judo in the world of mixed martial arts. That athlete came in the form of Ronda Rousey whose Judo abilities were of the highest level.

The former women’s UFC bantamweight champion holds a 6th dan black belt in Judo and defended her UFC title six consecutive times. Her ability to throw opponents into unfavorable positions and secure a submission was legendary, to say the least. Rousey is considered one of the greatest UFC stars and Judo practitioners in MMA history.

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