Dave Camarillo is one of the most respected coaches in MMA, and his Guerilla Jiu-Jitsu incorporates the best aspects of jiu-jitsu and judo. Camarillo, who is a black belt in both disciplines, spoke to MMA Fighting's Luke Thomas about judo in MMA in a fascinating "Technique Talk" interview that was posted yesterday. A sizable portion of the conversation centered around UFC women's bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey, who won an Olympic medal in Judo and has used her skills to dominate in MMA so far.
Camarillo talked about how Rousey attacks, and what her strengths and weaknesses are. One of the things he mentioned was that Rousey didn't have an elite-level ground game in comparison to Kyra Gracie or an ADCC medalist. Here's a portion of his statement in regards to that:
I don't think she's an elite-level ground tactician.
When I watched Ronda Rousey's fights, I think she's a phenomenal fighter, but she definitely has a lot of holes. For example, when Liz [Carmouche] had her back, she basically came in kind of with the wrong head and arm for MMA. You generally don't want to do that because people can take your back. I think that was a technical mistake on her behalf.
Now, why didn't she lose the fight? She fought out of it and that comes from how tough she is individually and also the sport of judo. That's displayed in her fights. You're seeing not just a technical stylist on the ground, but you're seeing somebody who just will fight out of anything you put in front of them. She's been able to do that.
I think there are things leading up to that position wise that she can definitely improve on, so that's the take of whoever you're talking about giving information of 'Is she a high-level, elite-level grappler like the women of today in Brazilian jiu-jitsu?' I would say no, but remember she's not fighting in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. She's fighting in MMA and in MMA right now, she's doing phenomenal.
You really need to read or listen to the whole thing to get a better assessment of what he's saying, but it appears that Rousey and her mother, former judo world champion Dr. Ann Maria De Mars, weren't big fans of Camarillo's conclusions. They both took to twitter to respond:
To be fair, Camarillo was actually quite glowing in his assessments of many aspects of Ronda's game, but his comments about her ground game appear to have struck a nerve. The interview is an extremely interesting read either way though, no matter how much judo knowledge you have. I highly recommend checking it out.