Can Judo Beat BJJ?

Judo and BJJ are similar grappling styles. Both athletes wear a Gi and use takedown techniques and submissions to win fights. However, Judo focuses more on takedowns while BJJ is all about submissions. If a master from each style was to fight each other who would win?

Can Judo Beat BJJ?

Judo can beat BJJ in MMA, street fights and BJJ competitions. A Judoka can throw a BJJ athlete in a street fight on a hard surface and knock them unconscious. Judokas can win a MMA or BJJ match by scoring points for takedowns, pinning their opponent and attacking armbars which Judokas specialise in.

What Wins In A Street Fight – Judo Or BJJ?

Judo is more effective than BJJ in a street fight. All fights start standing and Judokas are much better at takedowns than BJJ athletes. A single powerful throw on a hard surface from a skilled Judo player could easily knock a BJJ athlete out, winning the fight for the Judoka.

Who would you rather be in a street fight athlete A who is a master at takedowns and pretty good at ground fighting or athlete B who is ok at takedowns but very strong on the ground?

I would always choose athlete A. All street fights start standing. A BJJ athlete is going to struggle to take a Judo player to the ground. If a BJJ athlete can’t take a Judoka to the ground then all their ground skills are worth nothing because they can’t be used during the fight.

The Judoka is in a much stronger position. They can either choose to keep the fight standing with the BJJ athlete by defending the takedown attempts or they can attack their own takedowns and throw the BJJ player to the ground.

Judokas are experts at big powerful throws which they can implement with great effect during a street fight. A Judo player could easily pick up and launch a BJJ athlete through the air and cause their head to come crashing down onto concrete, leaving the BJJ player unconscious.

Even if the fight does hit the ground and the BJJ athlete has the ability to showcase his impressive submission skills there is no guarantee that they will be able to submit a Judoka. High level Judokas are also highly skilled at ground fighting.

Silver Olympic medalist Travis Stevens was awarded his black belt in BJJ from John Danaher after training the sport for  just one year. Do you think a high level black belt would have been able to easily submit Stevens before he ever set foot in a BJJ gym?

The fact that all street fights start standing and the advantage Judo athletes have over BJJ players in the standing position makes them a favourite in a street fight.

Is Judo Or BJJ Better For MMA?

As takedowns are so important in MMA Judo is more effective. Both Judo and BJJ have produced champion MMA fighters. BJJ has produced more high level MMA fighters but arguably Judo has produced the two greatest MMA fighters of all time, Fedor emelianenko and Khabib Nurmagomedov. 

Judo and BJJ are great bases to go into MMA with. Grappling is such an important part of MMA that if you are already an expert at takedowns and submissions your transition to MMA will be much smoother.

A pure striker has a much more difficult time becoming an MMA fighter than a grappler as a striker can easily be taken down, pinned and submitted. A striker has little chance of escaping from a grappler.

Both BJJ and Judo have produced a number of MMA stars over the years. BJJ is responsible for producing the Nogueira brothers, Diaz brothers, BJ Penn and Demian Maia to name a few. While Judo has produced Khabib, Fedor, Rick Hawn, Akiyama and Ishii. 

BJJ has produced a much higher number of MMA fighters than Judo but this is more related to few Judo athletes transitioning to MMA. Judo has taken a negative view of MMA and athletes who start an MMA career are derided.

Also many Judo national team members are able to make a comfortable living just training Judo so that they do not need to transition to MMA.

While both BJJ and Judo are effective in MMA, Judo is better suited to the sport. Athletes who are experts at takedowns and know enough about submissions do better than submission experts with average takedowns. As Judokas are much more skilled at standing grappling they have an easier time adapting to MMA.

A Judoka will usually have the ability to decide where the fight takes place and their respectable ground skills allows them to take their opponents down and either hunt for submissions or finish the fight with ground and pound.

Judo’s effectiveness in MMA can be seen by the success of Khabib and Fedor. These two fighters are among the greatest MMA fighters of all time. They both trained extensively in Judo prior to starting their MMA journey.

They both were able to mix up takedowns and strikes smoothly and had more than enough skills on the ground to unleash powerful strikes while pinning their grounded opponents.

Can Judo Win BJJ Competitions?

Judo can be used to win BJJ competitions, however BJJ athletes who specialize in Jiu Jitsu have an advantage. Judokas are good at getting points for takedowns, pinning their opponents and attacking armbars. Travis Stevens is a Judoka who has won high level BJJ competitions.

Judo players are skilled on the ground. The average Judo black belt is typically somewhere between the skill level of a BJJ blue belt and purple belt. However, national team Judokas can have brown or black belt BJJ level skills.

Travis Stevens is a famous example, he managed to get a BJJ black belt after training for a year based on the ground skills he acquired as part of the US’ national Judo team.

A good Judoka can definitely win local blue and purple belt BJJ competitions without ever training in BJJ.

However, there is little chance of them winning local black belt competitions and they stand no chance of winning major black and brown belt competitions. To win these competitions they would need to spend years specialising in BJJ, learning the positions and strategies.

The major problem that Judoka face in BJJ competitions is that their opponents can sit guard which prevents them from scoring points for their takedowns. With their best weapon neutralised Judokas face an uphill battle trying to pass the guard of their opponents.

Judokas typically do best when they compete against BJJ athletes who are happy to stand with them and exchange takedowns. Judo players are great at quickly transitioning from a takedown into a submission. Unfortunately, smarter BJJ competitors will sit guard as soon as the match starts.

Judokas also excel at attacking the turtle position and can often catch BJJ athletes off guard with their unique attacks and the speed with which they can execute them.


Judo can beat BJJ in a street fight, MMA or even in a BJJ competition. Judokas are favorites over BJJ athletes in street fights and MMA because the fact that fights start standing and of their superior takedown skills.

While Judokas can excel in BJJ competitions, BJJ athletes have the advantage due to their specialisation and their ability to sit guard, allowing them to avoid takedowns.

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