U.S. Olympian to Make Strikeforce Debut Jan. 7

By Sherdog.com Staff Dec 20, 2010
Four-time national judo champion and 2004 Olympian Rhadi Ferguson will make his promotional debut against Canadian prospect Ion Cherdivara in a featured light heavyweight matchup at Strikeforce Challengers 13 on Jan. 7 at the Nashville Municipal Auditorium in Nashville, Tenn.

Ferguson, a black belt in judo and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, owns a Ph.D in education from Capella University in Minneapolis. A cousin of Internet street-fighting sensation and UFC veteran Kevin “Kimbo Slice” Ferguson, the 35-year-old father of two was named the 2001-02 United States Federation International Senior Male Athlete of the Year. Ferguson, a protégé of Judo Jack Williams, remains the only athlete ever to compete in the Olympics, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu World Championships and the Abu Dhabi Combat Club Submission Wrestling World Championships. Based at American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Fla., Ferguson has trained UFC veterans Thiago Alves, Brandon Vera, Jeff Monson and Karo Parisyan, among others.

“I don’t think MMA is ever a natural transition,” Ferguson said in a release. “I did judo. I did BJJ. I’m a strength and conditioning coach and a judo coach for some top MMA fighters. After training these guys for a while, the sport caught me a little bit. I’m 35, but I feel like I still have some stuff in the tank. I’m satisfied with my athletic career, but I wouldn’t mind putting the Strikeforce light heavyweight title belt on my mantel.”

Cherdivara, a former member of the Moldovan national wrestling team, made his professional MMA debut under the Ringside MMA banner in January, as he stopped Aaron Dupuis on first-round punches in Montreal. He trains out of Brazilian Top Team Canada.

“I’m only 1-0 because I’ve had a hard time finding fights in Montreal,” Cherdivara said. “No one wants to fight me. With Strikeforce, I’ll finally be able to face some quality opponents who otherwise wouldn’t dare fight me. I’m looking to face the best light heavyweights Strikeforce has to offer.”

A welterweight showdown between prospects Tyron Woodley and Tarec Saffiedine will headline Strikeforce Challengers 13, which will air live on Showtime.

Strikeforce Challengers 13
Friday, Jan. 7
Nashville Municipal Auditorium
Nashville, Tenn.

Tarec Saffiedine vs. Tyron Woodley
Devin Cole vs. Daniel Cormier
Ron Humphrey vs. Ovince St. Preux
Julia Budd vs. Amanda Nunes
Ion Cherdivara vs. Rhadi Ferguson
Nathan Coy vs. Nate Moore
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