MMA Athletes Who Won Olympic Medals

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MMA fighter and UFC Champion wearing his Olympic gold medal

In the history of MMA, there have been numerous Olympic medalists that have transitioned to the sport. That’s why we’ve made a complete list of every Olympic medalist that has competed in MMA.

Below is a list of every gold, silver, and bronze medalist that competed in MMA with short bios of each one.

How many Olympic medalists have fought in MMA? There have been nearly 40 MMA athletes who won Olympic medals in the history of the sport.

Bronze Medalist MMA Fighters

Randi Miller

Randi Miller was a bronze medalist in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Olympics. Miller transitioned to MMA in 2012 and won her only fight in the sport by TKO in the third round.

Vladimir Tchanturia

Vladimir Tchanturia was a Georgian native that won a bronze medal in boxing at the 2000 Olympic games. He fought a young Alistair Overeem and lost by RNC in his only MMA bout. Tchanturia would move to pro boxing and have a short career.

Ben Spijkers

Ben Spijkers was a judoka that won a bronze medal at the 1988 Olympic games. He had a poor run in MMA, going 0-2 and famously losing to Renzo Gracie for the World Combat Championship promotion.

Eldari Kurtanidze

Eldari Kurtanidze was a two time bronze medalist in freestyle wrestling, winning at the ‘96 and 2000 Olympics. Kurtanidze only had one MMA fight which was a loss to Kazuyuki Fujita at Pride Shockwave: 2006.

Damian Janikowski

Damian Janikowski is a Polish wrestler that won a bronze medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2012 games. Janikowski has actively fought for the last decade in the Polish promotion KSW, where he’s earned a record of 7-4.

Alexis Vila

Alexis Vila was a 2x freestyle wrestling world champion, along with winning a bronze medal at the ‘96 Olympics. Nine years later, Vila would transition into MMA. In his MMA career, Vila would go 15-7 and fight in Bellator, WSOF, and Titan FC.

Ronda Rousey

Ronda Rousey was a bronze medalist in Judo at the 2008 Olympics. She was a pioneer of women’s MMA and responsible for its rise in popularity. Ronda was the inaugural women’s bantamweight champion in the UFC and went 12-2 in her career before transitioning to pro wrestling.

Silver Medalist MMA Fighters

Sara McMann

 Sara McMann was the second female Olympian to fight within the Ultimate Fighting Championship(Ronda Rousey being the first.). She was also the very first woman to win an Olympic silver medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. McMann is still active in MMA and is currently fighting in the UFC with a record of 13-6.

Yoel Romero 

The ageless wonder, Yoel Romero was a freestyle wrestler that one a silver medal at the 2000 Olympics in Sydney. After defecting to the US years later, Romero transitioned to MMA. He is currently signed with Bellator MMA where he fights at light heavyweight and currently holds a record of 13-6.

Matt Lindland 

Matt “The Law” Lindland actually began his MMA career before earning a spot on the 2000 US Olympic team. Lindland would win a silver medal in Greco-Roman wrestling before moving back to MMA full-time. He would earn a record of 22-9 and fight in every major MMA promotion.

Townsend Saunders 

Townsend Saunders was a silver medalist in freestyle wrestling at the ‘96 Olympic games in Atlanta. He would try to transition to MMA, but would lose both bouts that took place within the UFC in  1997.

Naoya Ogawa 

Naoya Ogawa was a world champion Judoka that earned a silver medal at the ‘92 Olympic Games in Barcelona. Ogawa would first transition to pro wrestling and then into MMA, which was encouraged by former pro wrestling promoter Antonio Inoki. He would go 7-2 in his career and notably fought Fedor Emilianenko, who gave him his first loss.

Matt Ghaffari 

Matt Ghaffari was a Greco-Roman wrestler that earned a silver medal at the ‘96 Olympic games in Atlanta. He would have one MMA fight against another Olympic medalist Naoya Ogawa that he lost by first round TKO.

Dennis Hall 

Dennis Hall is a Greco-Roman wrestler that earned a silver medal at the “96 Olympics in Atlanta. Hall fought only once in MMA for the Japanese promotion Shooto that he lost by submission.

Min Soo Kim 

Min Soo Kim is a Korean Judoka that won a silver medal at the Olympic games in 1996. Kim transitioned to MMA, but had poor results. Fighting ten times and earning a losing record of 3-7.

Aleksei Medvedev 

Aleksei Medvedev is a Belarussian freestyle wrestler that earned a silver medal at the ‘96 Olympics. Medvedez only fought one time in MMA, which was a TKO loss to Semm Schilt for the promotions 2H2H.

Bu Kyung Jung 

Bu Kyung Jung is a Korean judoka that won a silver medal at the Olympic Games in Sydney. Jung would have an unsuccessful transition to MMA that resulted in a record of 0-4.

Katsuhiko Nagata 

Katsuhiko Nagata is a Japanese Greco-Roman wrestler that won a silver medal in 2000 at the Sydney Olympics. Nagata would fight in 13 MMA bouts and earned a record of 6-7 before retiring.

Stephen Abas 

Stephen Abas is an American freestyle wrestler that won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. He would go undefeated in MMA with a 3-0 record before moving on to be a full-time wrestling coach.

Hiroshi Izumi 

Hiroshi Izumi is a Japanese judoka that won a silver medal at the 2004 Olympics in Athens. Izumi was an active MMA fighter from 2009 to 2011. In that time, he earned a record of 4-2 and notably fought reigning Bellator champion Gegard Mousasi in his last bout.

Mark Madsen

Mark Madsen is a Danish Greco-Roman wrestler that won a silver medal at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Madsen is currently undefeated as an MMA fighter with a record of 12-0. He is currently under contract with the UFC and fighting his way up the ranks. 

Gold Medalist MMA Fighters

Kenny Monday 

Kenny Monday was one of the first Olympic gold medalists to transition to MMA. He only fought one time in 1997, which was a TKO win over John Lewis. Monday would then transition to being a wrestling coach and also a long time wrestling coach for MMA fighters.

Kevin Jackson 

Kevin Jackson was another one of the first Olympic gold medalists that transitioned to MMA. Jackson was also the first Olympian to fight in the UFC. Earning a record of 4-2 before retiring and becoming a full-time wrestling coach, which included being the Olympic wrestling coach.

Ray Mercer 

Ray Mercer is a gold medalist in boxing before becoming a multiple time world champion in the sport. Mercer had one MMA fight in 2009 against former UFC heavyweight champion Tim Sylvia. 

In the fight, Mercer said that Sylvia agreed to no kicks, but then leg kicked Mercer. He then knocked out Sylvia with one punch after being hit with the leg kick.

Makoto Takimoto 

Makoto Takimoto is a Japanese judoka that won a gold medal at the 2000 Olympic games in Sydney. As a MMA fighter, Takimoto went 6-5 and notably fough most of his career in Pride.

Istvan Majoros 

Istvan Majoros is a Hungarian wrestler that won a gold medal in Greco-Roman wrestling at the 2004 Olympics. Majoros would fight one time in MMA for K-1 Dynamite, where he lost by TKO to the late Norifumi Yamamoto.

Karam Gaber

Karam Gaber is an Egyptian wrestler that won a gold medal in the 2004 Olympics in Athens. In the same year, he would have an unsuccessful transition to MMA. Losing his only MMA bout by TKO against Kazuyuki Fujita at K-1 Dynamite 2004.

Mark Schultz

The legendary American wrestler Mark Schultz won an Olympic gold medal in 1984. In 1996, Schultz came in as a replacement to fight MMA vet Gary Goodridge at UFC 9. Schultz would win the bout by TKO and return to coaching wrestling. 

Rulon Gardner 

Rulon Gardner is an American wrestler that specialized in Greco-Roman wrestling. He famously beat wrestling legend Alexandr Karelin in the finals. Gardner would fight one time in MMA beating fellow Olympic gold medalist Hidehiko Yoshida at Pride Shockwave 2004.

Alexandr Karelin 

Alexandr Karelin is considered the greatest Greco-Roman wrestler of all time. Only losing one time in two decades of competition. Karelin fought in one mixed rules event in 1999 that he won by decision.

Hidehiko Yoshida 

Hidehiko Yoshida is a Japanese judoka and MMA legend in Japan. He would go 9-8 as a pro MMA fighter that mostly took place in Pride.

Satoshi Ishii 

Satoshi Ishii is another Japanese judoka that won an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. Ishii is still active in MMA, where he has earned a record of 25-12 and has fought around the world.

Kayla Harrison 

Kayla Harrison was the very first American woman to win Olympic gold in Judo. Harrison has successfully transitioned to MMA and currently holds an undefeated record of 15-0. She is currently signed with PFL and is lobbying for a fight with Cyborg Santos.

Henry Cejudo

Henry Cejudo is considered one of the greatest combat sports athletes of all time. Cejudo earned a gold medal at the Olympic games in Beijing. He would go on to become the first MMA fighter to successfully hold the UFC flyweight and bantamweight titles simultaneously.

More Olympian Fighters To Come

Olympic medalist combat sports athletes are always tempted to make the transition to MMA to chase fame and fortune. The number of MMA athletes who won Olympic medals will no doubt increase as time goes on.

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Let's Roll BJJ aims to be the leading source of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and Grappling information and news on the web. Dorian, the owner and editor of Let's Roll BJJ is a purple belt in Jiu Jitsu and has been training and competing for over 6 years. Apart from being a BJJ geek, Dorian is a software developer by trade, a husband, and a father of two wonderful kids who he's recently began teaching Jiu Jitsu. When he's not training, coding, or writing, you can find him hiking, camping or occasionally binging on video games.

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