Does Judo Work in MMA? (A Closer Look)

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is a physically demanding and highly competitive sport that demands superior grappling and striking abilities. Consequently, MMA competitors favor various martial arts combinations to become more efficient in the Octagon, such as BJJ / Karate / Capoeira, Japanese Ju Jitsu / Taekwondo, etc. However, many MMA fans wonder; Is judo effective in MMA?

Judo is a very efficient martial technique used effectively in MMA by many prominent fighters, such as Hector Lombard and Rhonda Rousey. This gentle art focuses on grappling methods that improve physical strength, endurance, and mental concentration.

Thus, Incorporating Judo into one’s MMA training will significantly increase overall performance. Continue reading to learn more about why judo is an effective combat sport for mixed martial arts, among other things.

Why Is Judo Effective in MMA?

Judo is a famous martial art with millions of fans and practitioners. However, it is underrated in mixed martial arts, even though many fighters used judo correctly to win several MMA bouts.

However, Judo is one of the most excellent grappling disciplines and may significantly enhance your MMA grappling abilities. It may be extremely useful in MMA; here is why?

  • Judo students acquire aggressive physical characteristics and a great sense of balance and control.
  • Judo Fighters know to handle appropriately the opponent’s movements, manage their balance, and eventually take them down to the ground using proper techniques.
  • Judokas have excellent clinch that will be useful in performing some solid takedown attacks or defense.
  • Judo throws successfully outclass any opponent, even heavier opponents.
  • Judokas have excellent footwork and distance management. Indeed, they can manage standing fighting correctly.
  • Judokas have a high level of mental attention and concentration. This may help fighters build mental toughness and the capacity to concentrate under high-pressure circumstances.

Why Don’t Fighters Train in Judo for MMA?

Even though judo may considerably improve one’s grappling ability, many MMA fighters do not prioritize studying Judo for MMA. This is due to a variety of factors, including:

  • Many MMA competitors prioritize honing their striking game over grappling. As a result, they contemplate studying judo, which does not teach hitting.
  • Even though judo is an excellent grappling martial art, it puts less emphasis on submission holds that can effectively end MMA bouts. Therefore, fighters choose to learn BJJ or Sambo for MMA rather than Judo.
  • Some fighters have a grappling experience from wrestling, Brazilian jiu-jitsu, or sambo and do not require judo to succeed in MMA.

Nevertheless, many successful MMA fighters have used their Judo backgrounds to achieve a competitive advantage and dominate the Octagon.

What Are the Best Judo Techniques for Mixed Martial Arts?

Judo is well-known for its effective and rapid throws, which aid in destroying any opponent. Some famous judo throws include Osoto-Gari, Drop Seoi Nage, O-Goshi, etc.

Source: MMAShredded Jeff Chan

What Are the Best Judukas in MMA?

Judo, which the great Kano Jigoro developed, has helped some notable judokas become superb MMA fighters. The following are some of the top Judo fighters with impressive MMA careers.

Karo Parisyan

Karo Parisyan was a well-known and talented judoka who successfully switched to MMA in 1999. Karo’s first MMA fight was against Brian Warren on February 01, 1999, which he won by Ankle lock submission in the first round.

In their Judo tournament career as a black belt, Karo has won the International championship four times and a Junior National championship six times. Also, he competed in the 2004 Olympic Judo trials.

Moreover, Karo Parisyan began in the Ultimate Fighting Championship on September 26, 2003, facing Dave Strasser during The UFC 46 event. Parisyan submitted Strasser via Kimura submission in the first round of this fight.

Overall, Karo Parisyan is an outstanding judoka in the world of MMA with a remarkable record of 19 – 6.

Related: Learn about the various weight classes in the UFC and become an expert in mixed martial arts. Click here to start exploring right away!

Ronda Jean Rousey

Rondo Rousey is another well-known and talented judoka who successfully switched to MMA in 2011. Rondo’s first MMA fight was against Ediane Gomes on March 27, 2011, which she won by armbar submission in the first round.

Ronda started training in Judo at the age of 11. Over the years, she competed in the most outstanding Judo tournaments, such as the 2004 Olympic Games in Athens,  the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, World Junior Judo Championships, etc.

Some of Rousey’s notable Judo achievements include:

  • USA Senior National Championship (2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2010)
  • USA Senior Olympic Team Trials Winner (2004, 2008)
  • 2008 World Cup Senior Gold Medalist (2008, 2007, 2006)
  • 2007 Pan American Games Senior Gold Medalist
  • US Open Senior Gold Medalist (2007, 2006)
  • US Open Junior Gold Medalist (2006, 2005, 2002)

Furthermore, Rondo Rousey debuted in the Ultimate Fighting Championship on February 23, 2013, when she faced Liz Carmouche at UFC 157 event. In the first round of this fight, Rousey submitted Carmouche via armbar submission.

Overall, Ronda Rousey is an exceptional judoka in MMA, with a remarkable 12 – 2 record.

Shinya Aoki

Shinya Aoki is a Japanese judoka who successfully transited to mixed martial arts in 2003. Shinya’s first MMA fight was against Dai Okimura on November 24, 2003, which he won by armbar submission at the 3:14 minute of the first round.

Aoki started training in Judo at an early age, and over the years, he competed in the top Judo national and international championships.

Over the years, Aoki went from combat sport to another before landing in mixed martial arts. Seeing Kazushi Sakuraba beat prominent international fighters in Pride FC significantly impacted Aoki’s decision to pursue MMA.

Nowadays, Aoki competes in MMA, Pro-Wresling, and Submission Grappling. Some of his notable achievements include:

  • DEEP West Chofu Tournament Winner
  • DREAM Lightweight Championship
  • 2x ONE Lightweight World Championship
  • Shooto Middleweight Championship
  • WAMMA Lightweight Championship
  • Lineal MMA Lightweight Championship
  • 3x DDT Extreme Championship
  • 3x Ironman Heavymetalweight Championship
  • 2x KO-D 8-Man/10-Man Tag Team Championship
  • 1st place ADCC Japan
  • Deep X Superfight Championship (2007)
  • Shooto Grappling Championship (2006)
  • Dumau/Kansai Cup Championship (2005)
  • 2x All Japan Jiu-Jitsu Championship

Aside from that, as of 2022, Shinya Aoki has 59 MMA match records, with 47 wins and 11 defeats, most of which were in The ONE Championship.

Related: Learn about the various weight classes in the ONE Championship and become an expert in mixed martial arts. Click here to learn more!


Mixed Martial Arts is a physically demanding and highly competitive sport that demands exceptional grappling and striking skills. Many Judokas, including Shinya Aoki and Ronda Jean Rousey, have proven the efficiency of Judo in the mixed martial arts world.

Judo is a compelling martial art founded by Jigoro Kano in 1882 in Japan. It can be efficient in MMA since it emphasizes effective throws, physical strength, endurance, and mental focus.

I hope this article helped you learn about the effectiveness of Judo in MMA. Have excellent grappling training!

Recommended: The Olympic Games are among the most prestigious sporting events in the world! Learn about the various Olympic Judo weight classes to become a tournament expert. Click here to discover more!