Ronda’s Mom, Ann Maria De Mars (World Champ) on Judo’s Worldwide Decline

Ronda’s Mom, Ann Maria De Mars (World Champ) on Judo’s Worldwide Decline



Judo is a massive sport. It’s in he Olympics. It is of course much bigger than it’s little brother BJJ.

There are however some warning signs that it’s popularity is fast declining. Using analytics of web trends, this article shows the decline in the number of people searching for judo on the internet over the last decade. It shows the increase in the number of people looking for BJJ over that same period. In fact in the USA, more people already search for BJJ than Judo.

US Data

As we can see that Judo has certainly lost the interest battle in the USA:

usa bjj data


MMA is also another huge factor influencing this decline. The Sports Business Journal reported on an annual survey which tracked the habits of avid fans of MMA.

The survey determined that of the 48.4% of the U.S. male population, the UFC (74.6% of males polled) is most popular of the three sports (MMA, boxing and WWE wrestling) among males with boxing a close second (72.4%) and then WWE (62.8%).   As one might expect, the UFC did well with ages 18-44 while boxing was more popular among 30-44 year olds.


Why is this happening? Possible reasons:

1) Popularity of MMA. BJJ is also partly to blame and the fact that you see a lot more BJJ in MMA than Judo. BJJ with Royce is also what started MMA so BJJ will always be associated with MMA.

2) BJJ is generally safer (less risk of serious injuries) as there is much less emphasis on throws.

3) BJJ has a far greater internet presence compared to judo. look at youtube and compare the number BJJ videos to those of Judo.

4) BJJ makes better use of digital media in general. The quality and quantity of apps and DVDs for BJJ is far greater than those of Judo.


AnnMaria De Mars is an American Judoka. She was the first American to win at the World Judo Championships, winning the 1984 tournament in the -56 kg class. She is the mother of Ronda Rousey, an Olympic bronze medalist judoka and mixed martial arts Bantamweight world champion.

She talked to Jean Baptiste of Globe-MMA.com about Judo’s falling number of practitioners over the years in the USA. In France, The French Judo federation, which has 500,000 members (80% are children under the age of 12) is losing 70,000 members per year that are moving to other sports.