Hip Toss Takedown by Henry Cejudo
UFC Champ and Olympic Gold Medalist Shares Takedown Prowess
Anybody who has been a fan of the UFC’s lighter weight classes has undoubtedly seen Henry Cejudo’s rise to dominance. If you haven’t, here’s a quick refresher.
Henry Cejudo won an Olympic gold medal in freestyle wrestling at the 2008 Summer Olympics and was signed to the UFC by 2014. After facing the likes of Chris Cariaso, Chico Camus, and Jussier Formiga, he would go on to face then-champion Demetrius Johnson for the UFC Flyweight Championship. He lost the fight but eventually bested his rival two years later to claim the title and cement his status as one of the best wrestler-turned-fighters in the UFC.
What contributes to his success? The very thing that won him the Olympic gold: wrestling.
Now it’s your turn to learn from one of the best, and what better thing to learn than a good old fashioned hip toss.
Cejudo starts off his takedown here a bit differently than most people. Rather than beginning from an over-under pummel set-up, he begins with an inside tie along with a sweep single to the outside leg. Naturally, the opponent is going to sprawl to defend the shot, but Cejudo uses this to his advantage. What this does is make the opponent more top heavy while causing them to move their arms away from their sides for defense, making the underhook easier to obtain.
Instead of simply letting go of the leg and creating separation, Cejudo slides his arm from the leg to the waist. From there, he is taking a step with his underhook-side leg (in reference to the video, his right side) in between his opponent’s legs to begin his backstep. Having a good backstep here is vitally important as it establishes your hip position. Too shallow of a step will make it harder to lift your opponent and too deep of a step will compromise your position, leaving your back exposed.
After stepping between the legs, Cejudo pivots and finishes the backstep with his other leg, maintaining hip contact. He continues his motion by bringing his opponent directly over his hips to complete the toss. What’s interesting to note is that as he finishes the toss, his arm goes from the waist to the traditional underhook position, so the arm goes in a path of leg-waist-arm to build fluidity of motion. Cejudo doesn’t just stop with the toss; he follows through by staying in a top position by keeping the arm originally used for the collar tie along with the underhook.
For wrestlers, you can switch to a head-and-arm lock for the pin, and for jiu-jitsu practitioners, you can do the same or keep the arm for your variations of kesa gatame. The finish is, of course, up to you.
The hip toss takedown with Cejudo’s sweep single set-up is a fantastic addition to your wrestling toolbox. Whether you couldn’t finish your first takedown or want to chain up your moves, the hip toss is perfect for using your opponent’s moment to put them right on their back for a pin or submission. Keep at it, and you’ll have the takedown confidence of an Olympic wrestler.