Flavio Canto: “Ronda’s Style is Spectacular Because Judokas are Always Active on the Ground”

Flavio Canto: “Ronda’s Style is Spectacular Because Judokas are Always Active on the Ground”



Flávio Canto is a Brazilian judo champion and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt, who won the bronze medal in the -81 kg division at the 2004 Summer Olympics in Athens, Greece. He previously competed at the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, Georgia. Canto won three medals in a row at the Pan American Games: 1995, 1999 and 2003. He is known for his high level ground game and there are many stories of him having dominated many BJJ champions on the ground in training.

After Ronda’s spectacular victory over Cat Zingano,  Flavio Canto told GRACIEMAG that Ronda’s spectacular style comes from her Judo and the fact that Judokas have always toi be active on the ground, fighting against the clock:


Ronda’s speed of transition is what makes her such a special athlete. It’s not enough to be good on the ground, it is essential to know to fight at a time when most athletes do not go for it. In judo you are always running out of time. A few seconds without activity and the referee stops the fight and forces you back to your feet. Her dynamic style comes from that. She spent her whole life fighting against time and learned to enjoy every small opportunity, especially in that brief moment between “standing” and the “ground”. So it’s spectacular.

(When Cat Zingano bullrushed her) It is a position that I also did a lot in judo training. She adapted majestically to MMA.





Ronda Rousey spent a few days last year in Rio de Janeiro where she ran a judo seminar.

The fighter was joined by Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (BJJ and Judo black belt),  Rafaela Silva, 2014 world Judo champion, and Flávio Canto, judo bronze medalist at the Athens Olympics in 2004.

Ronda, who won the bronze medal in judo at the Beijing Olympics in 2008, demonstrated several techniques to the hundreds of people who followed the event.

Flavio Canto on how he developed his ground game by having started training in BJJ:


FC: I have always loved Ne Waza and my Judo school, with Geraldo Bernardes, gave a big importance to the ground game. We trained it everyday. I also had the privilege to train all my life with Paulo Caruso, a great BJJ coach. Where I lived we had many friends from BJJ and we trained together pretty often. I fought two tournaments in BJJ, I won both – a State Championship and a National Championship – and after that I realized, that it would be better to keep on training with everyone even if I didn’t compete BJJ tournaments anymore. In that same year I won the national Judo trial and the president of the National Federation by then told me that I should focus only in Judo tournaments. As my main goals were all in Judo I followed in the “Olympic trail”.”