The origins of modern MMA lie in Brazilian ‘Vale Tudo’ fights where men with great pride and even greater fighting skills would battle it out to see which style of fighting was the most effective. This led to the first UFC which ran with the idea of ‘style versus style’ and certainly in the first decade since it’s inception in the early nineties, the title of most effective fighting style would change. First it was Brazilian/Gracie Jiu Jitsu, then wrestling and ground and pound, before the Chuck Liddell era of ‘Sprawl and Brawl’. Judo always took a back seat.
Modern MMA sees the style lines much more blurred and fighters much more rounded but in the last five years no fighter in the UFC has had more of an impact or has become more famous than Ronda Rousey. And Judo is Ronda Rousey’s thing.
The contradiction of using the art of judo in the Octagon though is that it was created in the late 1800s as a less brutal version of Jiu Jitsu and the word Judo itself literally translates as ‘Gentle Way’. Many see judo more as a sport and less of a way of fighting. I visited my own old judo club in South London, Metro Judo, and spoke to coach and founder Mick Murphy to get his thoughts on the use of judo in MMA.