The USA’s Travis Stevens, probably the hardest working judoka around, has taken home a silver medal in the 2016 Olympic games.
Travis Stevens when asked why he focuses on the Ground Game (Newaza), he answered:
“Because nobody else is doing it.”
He showed great Newaza and was able to win 3 matches with ground techniques: 2 by pins and 1 by bow and arrow choke.
Who would have a better chance of success, a top judo player fighting in a high-level BJJ tournament or a top BJJ player competing in a high-level judo tournament?
A top judo player in a high-level BJJ event would have a better chance. We are physically more explosive, stronger athletes. And skills wise, when it comes to being well-rounded the judo guys are generally more so. We are physically strong enough to fend off ground attacks and we have the ability to score a takedown or keep heavy pressure on top. So a top judo guy would have a chance in a high-level BJJ tournament. In contrast, even a top BJJ guy wouldn’t stand a chance of winning at a high-level judo competition. Judo athletes are strong enough that if a BJJ guy were to get on our backs, we’d just have to stand up and ref would call “matte”. So the BJJ guy would have no chance to do his groundwork in a judo competition. The rules of judo are just so anti-BJJ that it would require a BJJ black belt to have a very good understanding of judo just to win a few fights. In general because of the rules, a judo guy has a better chance at BJJ than the other way around.
Stevens recently lost his Fight To Win debut to ADCC medalist Yuri Simoes who managed to secure a judges decision in the end: