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Is Michelle Nicolini the Greatest Female Grappler?

Is Michelle Nicolini the Greatest Female Grappler?

 Legendary grappling influence from this champ

There are not a lot of Female BJJ Practioners amongst us, being one I am always looking for inspiration.

I found that inspiration in several women including those that attend the same academy as I. Being with those women on the mats and getting and giving support for continuing to show up often is great for the inspiration I seek.

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Outside of my circle of female grappler friends and training partners, The World has some great role models we all admire. Michelle Nicolini is one of the Most Elite Female Grapplers out there, at only 36 years old she has been in the Martial Arts World for 22 years and has racked up several medals and championships throughout her journey.

 Michelle’s first experience with any type of martial arts was with Capoeira at the age of 14, Capoeira is an Afro-Brazilian martial art that combines several different elements of its art, Dance, acrobatics, and music, its maneuvers are quick and complex and mainly use power, speed and leverage in conjunction with a variety of kicks and spins as well as other techniques.

3 years after starting Capoeira, Michelle shifted her focus to Jiu Jitsu. I for one am grateful for that shift!

Michelle currently holds the female record at her belt level with 8 IBJJF World Championships under her Black Belt which she was awarded by her professor Robert Drysdale which is who promoted her through all levels of belt rankings.

Michelle is also a 4x ADCC Medal winner with 1 Gold, 2 Silver and 1 Bronze. Amongst these many accomplishments she also won The Brazilian National Nogi Championship becoming the first female athlete to complete a clean sweep of winning a gold medal at black belt level in both Gi and No Gi at all 4 major championships.

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 Michelle is not one to shy away from a challenge which she proved to be true when she showed up at The Worlds Jiu Jitsu Championship and fought 4 divisions above her traditional light-featherweight division, to meet a challenge proposed to her by one of her Checkmat colleagues which was to fight in the same division and close up the final together for the team, she decided to go and compete in the higher weight division.

Her desire to continue to challenge herself found her in the MMA ring where she continued to pull off victory after victory the first of which was in June of 2011 via armbar against Christina Mejia. She would end up winning 4 more MMA Fights, 2 of them via armbars and the 2 other victories by Rear Naked Choke Submissions. The only fight in which Michelle was not the victor came down to the judges’ unanimous decision when they awarded Norma Rueda with the win.

Michelle has a fight scheduled for November 9th against Tiffany Teo in Singapore at the One Championship - Heart of The Lion Event, alongside another favorite grappler or ours, our good friend Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon.  I’d like to take this opportunity to say Good Luck to both of these much-respected grapplers turned MMA Fight Machines and from across the Globe, we are all in your corner!

 

You can check out Michelles’ 1st MMA win via armbar against Christina here:

Kayla Harrison is also one of the premier female grapplers on the planet.  As a multiple time Olympic gold medalist in judo and now with a burgeoning MMA career, she is also poised to create a legendary career akin to Nicolini's.  Get it her instructional "The Real Judo Chop and Other Favorites" here at BJJ Fanatics!

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