Hidehiko Yoshida won Olympic gold before embarking on an MMA career. | Photo: Stephen Martinez
A gold medalist in judo at the 1992 Olympic Games in Barcelona, Spain, Hidehiko Yoshida will celebrate his 44th birthday on Sept. 3.
Yoshida was a mainstay on the Japanese mixed martial arts scene for the better part of a decade, competing inside the Pride Fighting Championships and Sengoku promotions. He earned victories over former Ultimate Fighting Championship heavyweight titleholder Maurice Smith, two-time UFC tournament winner Don Frye and 2001 K-1 World Grand Prix winner Mark Hunt during his career. However, he may be best known for engaging in losing battles with former Pride middleweight champion Wanderlei Silva (twice), 2006 Pride open weight grand prix winner Mirko Filipovic and onetime UFC heavyweight titleholder Josh Barnett. Yoshida secured eight of his nine mixed martial arts victories by submission.
Founder of the Yoshida Dojo in Japan, the decorated judoka helped spawn the careers of Kazuhiro Nakamura, Michihiro Omigawa and Maximo Blanco, among others. Yoshida retired following a unanimous decision loss to longtime student Nakamura in April 2010.
Those in MMA celebrating a birthday the week covering Sept. 1-Sept. 7:
SEPT. 1Tim Kennedy (34)
Mike Pierce (33)
Nick Catone (32)
D.J. Linderman (30)
SEPT. 2Steve Gable (37)
Jeff Curran (36)
Alessio Sakara (32)
Anthony Durnell (29)
Dragan Tesanovic (28)
Jamil Silveira da Conceicao (27)
SEPT. 3Hidehiko Yoshida (44)
Leo Sylvest (40)
Dominick Cruz (28)
SEPT. 5Emmanuel Yarborough (53)
Gray Maynard (34)
Jacob Volkmann (33)
Tim Hague (30)
SEPT. 7George Sotiropoulos (36)
Alan Carlos (30)
Ian Loveland (30)
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