John Lineker

The shark-infested waters of ONE Championship has been on display in recent years and past UFC athletes have found that out the hard way.

75% of those making the switch to Asia's largest sports media property have tasted defeat. 63% of those have been stopped before the bouts could get to the judge's scorecards with 57% of the finishes coming by way of knockout.

The talent of ONE is off-the-charts and there are no easy bouts laid out for anyone.

Here is a look at the top performers who have stepped inside ONE's Circle in recent years.

1. John Lineker (3-0)

John "Hands of Stone" Lineker is already 3-0 inside ONE's Circle.

Lineker picked up his first ONE win at ONE: Dawn of Valor against Muin Gafurov. Lineker went all three rounds in his organizational debut but showcased his fast hands in the contest. In his return bout, Lineker went up against former ONE World Champion Kevin Belingon and got a huge second-round TKO stoppage.

The victory over Belingon put Lineker at the top of the division with his sights set on Bibiano Fernandes. Since Lineker just finished Worthen at ONE on TNT III, a massive bantamweight title tilt should be set between two of the world's most incredible martial artists.

2. Ajan Bhullar (1-0)

Ajan Bhullar

As a former Commonwealth Games gold medalist, Arjan Bhullar has established his grappling prowess. He was able to showcase that in his first ONE outing at ONE: Century in Tokyo.

Bhullar took home a dominant unanimous decision win over Mauro Cerilli and made a strong case for being one of the premier heavyweight contenders.

Although that was his lone ONE contest, Bhullar's track record and dominant victory makes him one of the stronger transplants to date. His eyes are set on heavyweight gold and the American Kickboxing Academy member is ready for bigger and better challenges.

3. Demetrious Johnson (3-1)

Demetrious Johnson

If not for the loss at ONE on TNT I, Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson could have easily topped this list.

Johnson got off to a perfect 3-0 start in ONE competition by winning the ONE Flyweight World Grand Prix. As one of the greatest mixed martial arts athletes of all-time, Johnson added to his legacy with the Grand Prix victory.

However, in his title bid against Adriano "Mikinho" Moraes, he was stopped by a knee in the second round. The devastating knockout loss ended his streak and stymied his ascent up the ONE ladder.

Johnson is still very much at the top of the flyweight division and he will be looking to earn another shot at the gold when he steps back inside the Circle.

4. Yoshihiro Akiayama (1-1)

Yoshihiro "SexyYama" Akiyama has split his two bouts in ONE.

Akiyama dropped his debut contest at ONE: Legendary Quest against Agilan Thani by unanimous decision. However, Akiyama would return in 2020 to add to his highlight reel with a first-round KO against Sherif Mohamed at ONE: King of the Jungle.

Getting back in the win column in such a massive way shot Akiyama back up the list as he put himself in position to make noise in the welterweight division.

5. Eddie Alvarez (1-2)

Eddie Alvarez

Eddie "The Underground King" Alvarez's beginnings in ONE have gotten off to a rough start.

In his ONE debut, Alvarez was stopped by the power of Timofey Nastyukhin. In his second bout, Alvarez felt the power Eduard Folayang. However, he overcame a slow start to finish Folayang via submission.

In Alvarez's last outing at ONE on TNT I, he was disqualified for illegal strikes against Iuri Lapicus. The roller coaster start to his ONE venture will continue at ONE on TNT IV as he returns on short notice to meet Ok Rae Yoon, who won his bout at ONE on TNT III.

6. Yushin Okami (1-2)

The Japanese legend has suffered defeat twice in ONE, but both times were to top welterweight contenders.

In his ONE debut, Kiamrian Abbasov, who is now the division's king, won by second-round TKO. In Okami's return, American grappler James Nakashima grinded out a 15-minute win by unanimous decision.

Okami would get his first win in Tokyo at ONE: Century. The powerful grappler edged out Agilan Thani on the scorecards by split decision. Okami still has the abilities that have made him a household name in the sport, but ONE's depth at welterweight has shown itself as he has struggled to get to a title shot.

7. Sage Northcutt (0-1)

Sage Northcutt

"Super" Sage Northcutt has only stepped between the ropes for ONE on one occasion to date, and the American was met with brute force from Cosmo Alexandre.

Alexandre knocked him out quickly. The talented striker added to his highlights and gave the Texan a rude awakening on the global stage.

Although Northcutt appears at #7, the American has time to redeem himself in ONE. Northcutt plans to return in 2021 at his more natural weight, lightweight, in a bid to become a contender. Northcutt has all of the talent to become a World Champion and he will have to showcase it in one of the deepest divisions in the organization.

8. Daichi Abe (0-2)

Daichi Abe did not find success in Asia's largest sports media property. Abe struggled in his two matches and was stopped in both contests.

In his first ONE appearance, Abe was finished with a bodykick inside the first minute courtesy of Luis Santos. Ev Ting had his number in his second outing and finished with a second-round rear-naked choke.

The 2019 defeat was the last time Abe stepped foot inside the Circle.

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Two-Time Black Belt Hall of Famer Hayward Nishioka has been campaigning for judo in the United States to harvest more shodans (1st degree black belts) Shodan literally means student. It's analogous to being a freshman in college. It's not the end but the beginning according to Jigoro Kano, the Founder of Judo.

A very dear friend and sensei of mine the late Allen Johnson, may he rest in peace made a home at Emerald City Judo. In Redmond, Washington.

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Bruce Lee really did have the Midas touch when it came to training. Most people think Bruce was advanced and complicated, but he was the master of simplicity. He was not worried about doing the jump-up flip spin-around back kick. Not sure if there is one. But by the time you land, Bruce would just throw a simple kick or punch to knock you down as you landed to the ground. However, that is the point. Simplicity is often overlooked because of the coolness and the latest and greatest workout when simplicity produces the most significant effect. Super complicated does not mean superior. This is actually reverse in fact. We see super complex exercises that don’t need to be. Truthfully, if an exercise or method is not straightforward in its approach, then it probably is not good.
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Destinee Tartuffe

My friend Destinee Tartuffe a 4th dan and Head Sensei at Good Time Judo in Santa Rosa, CA has always been a pioneer and developer in all her life endeavors. She first took over the judo program at Santa Rosa Junior Collegestarted by my old friend Terry Kelly upon his retirement then went on to complete getting her law degree, JD.

Recently Destinee contacted me about a new training tool she’s invented. Upon my investigation, I was so impressed with this product that I asked her to write something about it for this week’s Black Belt Blog.
Judo Equipment

Members of Good Time Judo using Judo Jaime Training Tools.

As judo practitioners we know judo is an exciting dynamic Olympic or recreational sporting activity that offers social interaction, stress relief, and tons of fun. However, we also know that judo can be a dangerous, and potentially deadly activity when used for self-defense or when not practiced safely.

For all the fun and benefit that judo provides an enthusiast it seems to be the world’s best kept secret from the general populace. My coach and mentor taught me that judo is an inclusive, not an exclusive activity. So, I look for ways to get more people interested.

One of the biggest issues relates to the very idea of inclusiveness, which for me translates to one dojo cannot be everything to everybody. The age old saying jack of all trades, and master of none comes to mind.

Recently, I watched YouTube videos of three respected Judo coaches discussing the state of Judo in the United States. One of their common observations is that students who come to train with them lack the fundamental skills which would allow them to actually help those students reach a level of Judo expertise whereby the student could compete at an elite level of competition.

While I was disappointed to hear their dire opinions, they were similar to what I was experiencing in my college classroom. Honestly, I have been concerned for many years about how to continue when so many of the students come to class with an attitude of being a “super ninja” when in actuality they are often uncoordinated and seemingly unwilling to follow even the simplest of instructions. This creates a situation or environment where “bullies” prevail, injures occur, and students are lost. This attitude seems a direct conflict to the principle of Mutual Benefit and Welfare, and it made me think about hanging up my judogi.

Then, COVID caused programs to close, but as a college Judo instructor I was tasked with creating an online curriculum for my students and doing so within one week! I knew my students did not have the proper safety equipment in their homes to continue with the rolls and falls that we were practicing in class. We spent the last eight weeks finishing out the semester via Zoom class. I found the biggest challenge to be communicating to the student how they needed to correct their postures, or their ability to visualize the skill and apply my instructions for any given lesson.

The last night of class of had a vision of how these issues could be addressed. That’s when I created the Fundamental Directional Movement Mat and a Proximity Training Device that I call Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke. These tools can be used together or separately. The benefits conferred to the user by using the tools together can greatly excel the beginning students understanding of the application of Judo.

These tools are not just for beginners, it is important for even the most experienced judoka to review the fundamental movements regularly. Think about it there are pre-arranged forms (katas) that specifically address movement!

The Fundamental Directional Movement Mat is a durable vinyl mat with an elliptical design (mapping the movement of the Judoka in the plane of applied Judo). The instructor whether in-person or in an online class can assist the student by directing them to orient either along the horizontal or vertical 180 degree lines, which are also used to demonstrate and solidify 90 degree turns/pivots that are important to the fundamental movements for application of Judo. The mat also has indicators for the student to see the 45 degree angle of technique application easier.

Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke is a proximity training device that allows beginning Judoka to develop the proper posture and understanding of the proximity for applying judo techniques without the resistance, frustration, or fear that working with a partner initially brings. My years of teaching adults have shown me that despite what the student says, they often approach contact with another with fear and the mistaken belief that over-powering or resisting their partner is the proper thing to do; however, one-half the goal of Judo is that someone falls down! With Judo Jaime the student has the opportunity to develop the confidence and skills to make an actual attack when they are ready to engage with a person.

The device weighs no more than five pounds and is approximately 53” in height (when assembled). It is easily transportable and fun to use vs. the usual training dummies which are awkward, heavy and unsafe to use without proper instruction or direct supervision. While either product can be used alone we recommend using the tools together. This allows the student to fine-tune visualization skills and apply techniques, here again, without resistance from a partner. The student will develop an understanding and integration of the techniques for proper response timing more quickly.

The Fundamental Directional Movement Mat and Instructional material is copyrighted by Destar Productions, Inc.

Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke is a proximity training device with a patent pending by Destar Productions, Inc. For questions regarding orders and other product descriptions email Destinee Tartuffe at or visit our online store directly.

Judo Jamie

Judo Jaime

Fundamental Direction Training Mat

Fundamental Training Mat

Good Time Judo Outdoor workout with Judo Jaime

Outdoor Judo Jaime2

Judo training Without a Partner/ Introduction of Training Tools for Standing

This video introduces some new training tools for practicing, maintaining and gaining skills for application of Judo technique.Be sure to check out the Demon...

Demonstration of Judo Jaime: Your Training Uke

Demonstration of Judo Jaime: Your Training UkeBe sure to check out our video Judo training while social distancing.

I’m always looking for new subjects to write about regarding judo as well as contributions from my readers. Please send them to, thanks.

Gary Goltz