Did you know that Samoa Joe, the famous American professional wrestler, also has an extensive Judo background… And that he trains BJJ as well?
That’s right. Samoa trained Judo as a kid and was the California State Junior Judo Champion. He later on became interested in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
But that should come as no surprise for those who have been following his career. Samoa Joe used BJJ techniques in the pro wrestling ring a lot, such as the Rear Naked Choke and Armbars. Plus, he extensively used Judo throws to take his opponents down.
With that said, many people were wondering whether he would ever make the transition to MMA – considering that he’d also trained some kickboxing.
Samoa, though, never had such plans. He explained why in a 2019 interview:
I came up in Southern California when it was outlawed, and all my friends were MMA fighters were not making money except for, like, two. So, it just really wasn’t financially feasible at the time.
But since then I was just too old to get back into it, ’cause I don’t lie to myself. I know the elite athletes, I know what they do. You’re just gonna get hurt.
He also explained why he started incorporating BJJ and Judo moves in his career:
I think that’s kind of par for the course, as things evolve, as a audience becomes more educated to combat forms and styles that maybe guys who were with martial arts knew about for years. You have to expand the game.
Obviously they’ve changed perception. I remember when sleeper holds were something, oh, you came keep one on for six minutes.
It’s a little bit different now. That’s all from MMA.
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