Strikeforce Signs Former U.S. Judo Olympian Rhadi Ferguson for January Challengers Card

From a press release:

Four-time U.S. National Judo Champ and 2004 U.S. Judo Olympian Dr. Rhadi Ferguson will put his perfect MMA record on the line against up-and-coming undefeated light heavyweight Ion Cherdivara on the STRIKEFORCE Challengers Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) fight card presented by Rockstar Energy Drink on Friday, Jan. 7, 2011, at Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn., live on SHOWTIME® at 11 p.m. ET/PT (delayed on the West Coast).

The only athlete to compete in the Olympic Games, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) World Championships and the Abu Dhabi Submission Wrestling World Championships, Ferguson is 2-0 with two TKOs as a light heavyweight (205) in MMA.

A BJJ silver medalist, the 35-year-old Ferguson has successfully transitioned to MMA after a brilliant career in Judo and BJJ.  A member of America Top Team (ATT) in Coconut Creek, Fla., the longtime martial arts competitor is also a well-respected trainer having worked with Bobby Lashley, Thiago Alves and Brandon Vera, among others.

"I don't think MMA is ever a natural transition," Ferguson said.  "I did Judo, I did BJJ, I'm a strength and conditioning coach and a judo coach for some top MMA fighters.  After training these guys for a while the sport caught me a little bit. I'm 35, but I feel like I still have some stuff in the tank.

"I'm satisfied with my athletic career but I wouldn't mind putting the STRIKEFORCE Light Heavyweight title belt on my mantel."

Ferguson is a black belt in BJJ under ATT's Ricardo Liborio. He's also still close with Washington, DC's Team Lloyd Irvin. He was also my very first interview in MMA.

Can he transition to MMA? Your guess is as good as mine. He's a judo player first, but he incorporates a ton leg attacks. He's also incredibly strong and has explosive power. As a strength and conditioning coach (whose methods I've witnessed firsthand) he should be able to go the full distance in a MMA fight without much issue. Only time will tell of course.

I've included another highlight reel after the jump. It includes my favorite throw of his. It's against Jun Ishii from ADCC 2005. Note the elevation.

And yes, this is Kimbo Slice's cousin.

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