Taekwondo Blackbelts in the UFC?

You may be wondering, how does taekwondo translate

into real life fights?


Taekwondo is a highly physically demanding martial art. By this, we mean that you need immense physical power, flexibility, and stamina to be able to perform it at higher levels. We wanted to look further into how it translates and found that some of the most famous UFC fighters actually have a background in the art of Taekwondo. 


Here’s a list of some of the top

UFC fighters that started out in Taekwondo.


Bas Rutten

Rutten is a true MMA legend and one of the early pioneers of the sport. Rutten began

learning the Korean martial art form, Taekwondo, at 14. After completely dedicating

himself to the sport, Bas would receive a 2nd-degree black belt. Bas Rutten then got

involved in a street fight, after which his parents banned him from learning any martial

arts. At the age of 21, Rutten moved out and started learning other forms of martial arts

too. He took up Kyokushin Karate where he holds the 5th-degree black belt as well.


Akop Stepanyan

Akop began his combat sport training with Taekwondo where he earned his blackbelt

and was the 2002 Russian National Champion.

Nina Ansarrof

Nunes was born Nina Ann Ansaroff. Nunes started taking classes in Taekwondo at the

age of 6 she would later earn a 3rd degree black belt in Taekwondo.


Daron Cruickshank

Both of his parents are 4th-degree black belts in Taekwondo and have their own

schools. His father is also a former MMA fighter and his mother took part in Kickboxing

and Boxing matches. Daron became a 2nd-degree black belt in Taekwondo, and he was

also competing as an NCAA Division III wrestler.


Edson Barboza

Barboza brings to the table a variety of brutal Taekwondo and Muay Thai kicking

techniques. Barboza started his martial arts journey in Muay Thai and Taekwondo. He

has never changed his fighting styles & has remained loyal to his elite standup skills.


Valentina Shevchenko

Valentina Shevchenko is one of the greatest women fighters to grace the octagon.

Valentina began Taekwondo at age 5, under the influence of her older sister Antonina

and her mother, who both participated in the sport. At age 12 she branched out into

Muay Thai kickboxing and then freestyle Vale Tudo.


Rose Namajunas

Rose started practicing taekwondo at the age of 5. She earned her poom belt (junior

black belt) at age 9. After that, she went on to practice both karate and BJJ.

As the former UFC straw-weight champion Rose Namajunas could arguably be

considered one of the most well rounded women's MMA fighters on the entire UFC

roster. You can still see Taekwondo has a clear influence on the way she fights in the



Yair Rodriguez

Yair Rodriguez started his combat sports journey at age 5 when he started learning

taekwondo. Yair eventually started training MMA and made his professional debut in

2011. Yair is one of those talented fighters who have the potential to change the face of

the game. We can’t recall anybody in MMA history demonstrating that kind of fluidity,

dynamic striking and movement.Yair is a taekwondo black belt and one of the purest

representations of this martial arts style in modern MMA.


Anderson Silva

Many fans see Silva as the greatest MMA fighter of all time, and it’s very hard to argue

against that. Like many on this list.

Silva's first foray in martial arts began as a child training jiu-jitsu with neighborhood kids.

As a teen, Silva began training in taekwondo, capoeira and muay thai.To this day, Silva

stayed loyal to his martial arts base. With the 5th dan black belt around his waist, he is

perhaps the highest-ranking taekwondo practitioner on this list.


Anthony Pettis

Pettis started training in taekwondo and boxing at the age of 5. In college he also

started wrestling. When he went to train mixed martial arts at Roufusport at the age of

18, he already had a 3rd degree black belt in taekwondo. He would then go on to

achieve the same in BJJ as well and have a very good MMA career.


As an honorable Mention, Stephen Thompson. He bases his method on a US kickboxing style, although he calls it karate we believe. American kickboxing is a combination of boxing and Korean kicks.


Although these fighters started at a young age, Taekwondo circles around intelligence and the right attitude. For this reason, you're never too old to begin with Taekwondo. With dedication and determination, you can make the cut even after 60 let alone 30 or 40 years of age. 


Be sure to stop in and visit with us about how to start your taekwondo journey at W1.

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