Jocko Willink and Jeff Monson are two of the most physically intimidating grapplers you could think of, and the two have actually met on the mats in competition before. Back in 2005, these two men crossed paths and the resulting match was pretty impressive as neither man was willing to concede anything. It makes sense really, considering neither man has every really been a guard player as such, and they both subscribe to the more traditional mentality of getting on top and staying on top. When two people with that kind of style meet, only one of them can get what they want and they’re both going to fight tooth and nail to get it.
Willink is one of the most popular figures in the BJJ scene, and the Navy SEAL commander has been involved in the sport for an incredibly long time. He started training all the way back in 1995 under Fabio Santos before becoming a black belt under Dean Lister and opening up Victory MMA alongside him. Willink is known for training incredibly hard and has done so his entire life, but footage of him in competition is incredibly rare. Regardless, he has done multiple BJJ sessions a day for much of his career and still training alongside elite competitors to this day.
While Jocko Willink is known mostly for his work in bringing BJJ to the wider population, Jeff Monson is known more as an elite competitor instead. Willink is an NCAA Division 1 wrestler and a BJJ black belt under Ricardo Liborio, who later became two-time ADCC world champion and an IBJJF no gi world champion. Monson’s career wasn’t limited to Jiu-Jitsu however, as he also had an incredible MMA career that spanned 89 professional fights and included several UFC appearances. Monson continued competing much later than most athletes ever do, only retiring from combat sports competition in 2021 just a matter of days before his 50th birthday.
By the time that Jocko Willink stood across from Jeff Monson in competition, Monson had already achieved the majority of his accolades in submission grappling. He’d already had over a dozen professional MMA fights that included two UFC fights against top competitors Chuck Liddell and Ricco Rodriguez. While the odds were certainly stacked against Willink in this matchup, he was a talented grappler in his own right and he was more than willing to take the fight to Monson in an attempt to beat him.
The footage of Jocko Willink and Jeff Monson battling it out in competition was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of Heroes Martial Arts:
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