World NOGI BBJ Champion (Double Gold), two times BJJ Champion, and two times European Champion are just a handful of the impressive achievements that can be found on Ffion Eira Davies’s CV. They’re also a few of the reasons why this talented young athlete has become our newest Team Bear Strength ambassador.
Growing up winning British Championships as a junior, taking the bronze at senior level and transferring to Jiu Jitsu mixed martial arts (winning all four fights so far – three of which were amateur, and one professional) means Ffion Eira Davies is certainly one to watch for the future.
Women’s contact sport in the UK is often regarded as being out of step in modern society – and Davies has experienced the difficulty of finding matching opponents first hand,
“It’s quite hard to get fights within the UK, especially [for] women… That’s why there has been a lot of pull outs”.
But, with the rise in popularity of MMA – and as we see more and more recreational sportswomen becoming professional –there seems to be a significant shift in the right direction.
Coached by Rob Taylor, Ffion trains with fellow (male) competitors Brin and Ben – and the boys don’t hold back in nurturing the promising athlete into action.
“Brin is always watching videos, so I have picked up on people from him and noticing the names. I love Leandro Lo and his style… He has a wicked guard passing and a phenomenal guard. Luiza Monteiro… I really love her, too. In the recent Pan-American final against Michele Nicolini her guard passing was amazing! I don’t try to copy [anyone’s style] or anything but I take it all as inspiration.”
To the everyday eye, transferring from Judo to MMA might seem easy, but Davies insists there were many complexities of this transition;
“A lot of people say ‘your Judo must be great for this [MMA] ’. It’s true that at the beginning of a match, you can get the two points for taking someone down and controlling it – and that’s where it has helped – but, you can just pull guard, so you can’t just sit on your butt and rely on that technique.
“You can be really strong and lift heavy weights but then have a 15-year-old girl with the right technicality beat you up. I’ve seen that happen! I’m familiar with the body contact but I do have some bad habits I need to shift.”
We hear time and time again that elite athletes are hard on themselves – wanting to be the best and achieve their goals – and Davies is no exception.
Currently on purple belt, the sportswoman is fully aware of how hard she has to work;
“Your coach decides when you go up a level. My aim is World Champion, but you don’t get a black belt unless you’re literally phenomenal at Jiu Jitsu.
“I wouldn’t even say I’m halfway there in terms of development to black belt at this stage. You are constantly learning and improving – and it’s humbling to acknowledge that you will never know everything – and that’s why I love it.”
With plans for further development in Jiu Jitsu, MMA and maybe even UFC one day, Davies says the best advice she’s ever received is to stay humble.
“I was told not to have an ego. That’s something I’m embarrassed to admit and have trouble dealing with sometimes in Jiu Jitsu – especially when I get tapped [A ‘Brazilian Tap’ or a Fake Tap is the act of tapping out when competing] .
“Having done Judo for 10 years I thought I would take to Jiu Jitsu and be instantly good, but there is way more groundwork to it.”
It’s this commendable work ethic and attitude that makes Ffion Eira Davies a valuable new ambassador for Team Bear Strength.
And one final bit of advice from the talented young athlete?
“I try not to get frustrated when I’m doing badly and remember that I’m not just doing this to be the best I can be but to enjoy it too”.
Twitter & Instagram: @FfionEira3