The IBJJF held the no gi world championships in California this weekend. Among the mixed martial artists competing was ONE Championship strawweight contender Michelle Nicolini and the Brazilian claimed two gold medals.
Nicolini has been focused on MMA in recent years and is one of only two fighters to ever defeat Angela Lee. She challenged for the ONE Championship strawweight title last year but dropped a decision to Xiong Jing Nan.
It is over a year since her last MMA fight but Nicolini has decided to go back to her roots by competing in grappling events. She also claimed gold medals at the IBJJF no gi world championships in 2008 and 2010.
But 12 years later Nicolini decided to return to the competition and this time she was able to win two gold medals competing in the masters section:
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Nicolini is regarded as one of the best female submission specialists of all time. She has won eight gold medals at the IBJJF world championships in addition to the six gold medals she has claimed at the organization’s no gi world championships.
Nicolini will be 41 next month and it is not clear whether she has retired from MMA or is just on an extended break. The Brazilian signed for ONE Championship in 2016 but has only fought six times for the promotion, winning four of those fights.
Such has been Xiong Jing Nan’s dominance that there is a shortage of contenders in the strawweight division and the rankings are not currently listed on the official ONE Championship website. If they were Nicolini would surely be in the top five even though she has been out of action since 2021.
Regardless of whether she decided to return to MMA her status as one of the greatest female grapplers of all time remains intact and has been enhanced by her latest medal haul. Nicolini has one of the most impressive medal collections in the game.