Flashback Friday: Celebrating The Neo-Samurai

There are few fighters as enigmatic as Genki “Neo-Samurai” Sudo. A mixed martial artist, kickboxer, pop star, philosopher and director, Sudo is a true renaissance man. He competed professionally from 1998-2006 and fought for Pancrase, HEROs, UFC and competed in kickboxing (going 2-4 against some tough opponents). Sudo, a lightweight, had notable wins over such fighters as Mike Brown, Eric “Butterbean” Esch, Royler Gracie and Nate Marquardt.

The “Neo-Samurai” wrestled Greco-Roman in high school. After graduation, he would continue his grappling training under some of the best instructors in the game. The lineage of his Brazilian Jiu-Jiujitsu instructor, Naoyoshi Watanabe can be traced back to the founder of Judo, Jigoro Kano. Sudo also trained shoot wrestling under Maskatsu Funaki, who was trained under the one and only Karl Gotch’s student, Yoshiaki Fujiwara. Given his grappling pedigree, it’s not surprising he won 75% of fights by submission.


On the feet, Sudo wasn’t afraid to go for flying triangles and armlocks. He had a penchant for spinning backfists and kicks. Sudo’s opponent never truly knew what he was going to throw at them. When he met Duane “Bang” Ludwig at UFC 42 he walked backward towards the kickboxer and threw in plenty of robotic dance moves in-between strikes.



His fascinating in-ring tactics could only be overshadowed by his outlandish entrances. Often accompanied by a troop of people dressed in costumes, they would perform choreographed dance routines on the way to cage/ring.



Watching the theatrics, it’s easy to understand how he transitioned from combat sports and into the pop world. He formed the techno-inspired band, New Order, in 2009. The group has been highly praised and their Youtube videos have garnered over 95 million views.


He has since left New Order and been focusing on acting, directing and writing books.  

Sudo was an electrifying fighter who was overall very effective with rarely seen techniques. He was a personality bigger than the cage. As respectful to his opponents as he was extravagant, Genki Sudo was the Bushido code personified.

If you’ve never seen him compete, I highly recommend going back and watching his fights. Many can be found online and I guarantee you’ve never seen anyone like the “Neo-Samurai”.

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