March 8 will be Genki “The Neo-Samurai” Sudo’s 37th birthday. While that isn’t a particularly momentous milestone, Sudo himself is worth celebrating at any time. The retired fighter is perhaps the most entertaining person in combat sports, both in and out of the ring.
Let’s take a stroll down memory lane and look at some of his outstanding moments.
Sudo began martial arts when he started Greco-Roman wrestling in high school. From there, he moved on to Brazilian jiu-jitsu, eventually achieving the rank of black belt. I’m unsure of what he was back in 2001, during this submission grappling tournament, but it seems pretty apparent that Sudo is more skilled than his opposition.
He still pulls off some incredibly slick moves, especially his numerous flying triangles. Those transitions are fantastic, and that calf slicer at the end is insane. I don’t care if he’s grappling with mannequins, he’s so fluid with his movements, it’s amazing.
What happens when you have exceptional grappling skills and enter the world of mixed martial arts? Genki Sudo realized that it didn’t matter if the fight hit the ground, so he started having fun on his feet. Sudo would pop and lock, do the robot, turn his back to his opponents, and throw a multitude of spinning strikes.
Genki Sudo vs. Craig Oxley, Pancrase Trans 6 – Oct. 31, 2000
This is not only early in Genki’s career, but early in MMA. Pancrase still had guys wearing kickpads. There’s one important thing that happens in this video, but if you can’t sit through three minutes, here it is in GIF form:
That’s right, Sudo won a fight via giant swing, transitioned into an Achilles’ lock. That’s the kind of insanity that Sudo brings to a fight, and if you don’t love that, you should probably reevaluate your entire existence.
Genki Sudo vs. Leigh Remedios, UFC 38 – July 13, 2002
Genki Sudo’s debut in the UFC came against Leigh Remedios, a decent grappler in his own right. Unfortunately, Sudo is light years ahead of Leigh, and he dispatches him with probably the slickest back take for a rear naked choke I’ve ever seen.
Genki Sudo vs. Jin-Woo Kim, K-1 World MAX 2002 Champions’ Challenge – Oct. 11, 2002
Sudo had a brief kickboxing career, only managing to go 2-4, which isn’t surprising because his background is in grappling. However, against a Taekwondo medalist, Sudo did very well for himself, landing a big KO in the second round with one of his spinning back fists.
Genki Sudo vs. Eric “Butterbean” Esch, K-1 Premium 2003 Dynamite!! – Dec. 31, 2003
Yes, Genki Sudo, a lightweight, took on Butterbean, a super heavyweight in a mixed martial arts contest on New Year’s Eve 2003. The only answer as to why this happened is “because Japan.” Sudo ran around the ring a lot in the first round because he’s not an idiot, though he did manage to get a takedown and attempt a heel hook at the very end of the round.
In the second round, Sudo, once again blending pro wrestling and BJJ techniques, throws a dropkick, Butterbean lands on top, but Genki snatches up a heel hook and taps him out.
With how much crazy stuff Genki did inside the ring, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that his entrances were even more over the top and ridiculous. his handful of trips to UFC don’t match his Japanese MMA entrances because UFC didn’t want a lot of malarkey, but any time he walked out for a fight in K-1, something awesome was going to happen.
The major components of a typical Genki entrance are as follows:
– Wacky costume
– Elaborate choreography
– Posse of backup dancers
– Dramatic, stripper-esque removal of said costume
– More dancing
Sudo’s most elaborate entrance came on his final fight at K-1 Premium 2006 Dynamite!!, a fight he won by submitting Damacio Page in the first round by triangle choke.
Retirement And Beyond
Sudo has kept himself busy after his fighting career. He’s written books on philosophy, managed a baseball team in an over-30s league, been a wrestling coach, and even appeared on the Kamen Rider series as an apparent sadomasochistic gay zombie who can turn into some sort of tentacle monster.
Most importantly, he started a music group known as WORLD ORDER. They are a Japanese pop group that focuses on incredibly choreographed videos.
I’m guessing this is an ad for a zoo, but I really don’t care because that tiger mascot is wearing a suit and doing the dance moves with the rest of WORLD ORDER, and my heart and brain are both clapping and smiling too much to think about anything else.
WORLD ORDER was even recently featured on an episode of The Amazing Race, which is pretty rad, even if I don’t watch the show. At least more of the planet is discovering Genki Sudo.