Bobby Southworth

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Bobby Southworth
BornBobby Masai Southworth[1]
(1969-12-16) December 16, 1969 (age 52)
Madison, Wisconsin, United States[2]
Height6 ft 1 in (185 cm)
Weight228 lb (103 kg; 16.3 st)
DivisionLight Heavyweight
Reach76 in (193 cm)
StyleBrazilian jiu-jitsu[2]
Fighting out ofSanta Cruz, California
TeamCesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu
Gracie Systems
Ralph Gracie Jiu-jitsu (1996–1997)
American Kickboxing Academy (1997–2003, 2004–present)[3]
RankBlack belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Dave Camarillo[4]
Years active1999–2003, 2004–2010
Mixed martial arts record
By knockout6
By submission2
By decision2
By knockout3
By submission2
By decision1
No contests1
Other information
UniversityUC Davis
Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog

Bobby Masai Southworth (born December 16, 1969)[1] is a retired American mixed martial artist who fought in the Light Heavyweight division.

He has fought in PRIDE FC and appeared on Season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter. He was the first Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion.


Southworth was born in Madison, Wisconsin and was adopted when he was six weeks old.[5] Southworth has three sisters. He grew up in Santa Cruz, California playing football and basketball, surfing and doing track.[3] After graduating from Soquel High School, Bobby continued to Cabrillo College and yet UC Davis, playing basketball in all of them.[5]

His initial interest towards martial arts sparked after seeing Royce Gracie at UFC 1 and UFC 2.[3] While Bobby was looking for a sport to stay fit, his friend invited him to a jiu-jitsu class in a nearby gym.[3] Instantly hooked to the discipline, Bobby soon joined Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu academy before moving on to Gracie Systems which was formed after Cesar's cousin Ralph Gracie moved stateside.[3] Subsequently, Ralph opened his own academy in Mountain View, California where Bobby continued teaching and training jiu-jitsu.[3] Bobby grew interested to take a no holds barred bout which was disapproved by Ralph, leading to Bobby's departure from the academy.[3] Subsequently Bobby joined American Kickboxing Academy which at the time had no proper Brazilian jiu-jitsu program, so he took the responsibility of teaching the discipline.[3]

Mixed martial arts career[edit]

Southworth's first major exposure in the mixed martial arts world was when he faced Vitor Belfort on two-weeks short notice at PRIDE 13 on March 25, 2001.[3] Southworth was overwhelmed by the Brazilian veteran and lost by rear naked choke in the first round.

In late 2003, Southworth had a falling out over money with Javier Mendez and briefly retired from the sport. Still having the spark to compete, Southworth mended fences with Mendez and rejoined the academy about a year later.[3]

Return from retirement[edit]

Southworth then appeared on Season 1 of The Ultimate Fighter. He won his first preliminary fight against Lodune Sincaid, but lost the second versus Stephan Bonnar by split decision. Bobby returned to the house as a possible replacement for Forrest Griffin, should he not have been medically cleared to fight in the semifinals, but Forrest's cut healed safely and Southworth did not fight again until the undercard of the finale, where he fought a man he picked on in the house Sam Hoger and was defeated. It was a unanimous decision victory for Sam Hoger.


Southworth next moved to Strikeforce, where his first fight was against James "The Sandman" Irvin. The bout was declared a No-Contest after a mere 17 seconds when in a freak accident, Southworth and Irvin's clinch pressed against the cage, pushing open the cage door and causing Irvin to fall out of the ring.

In his next fight, Southworth was given the opportunity to fight for Strikeforce's vacant light heavyweight championship against Vernon "Tiger" White. Southworth won a decision victory, taking White down repeatedly and controlling the pace of the match.

Southworth's next fight was a non-title bout against Anthony Ruiz, a fight that Ruiz won by way of TKO (cut) in round 2. A rematch was set up, but this time it would be for Southworth's championship. In a rather slow-paced fight, Southworth defeated Ruiz via 5-round Unanimous Decision on June 27, 2008 and thus became the only man to successfully defend the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.

In his next title defense, at Strikeforce: Destruction on November 21, 2008, Southworth lost the light heavyweight championship against former UFC Light Heavyweight fighter Renato Sobral "Babalu" by TKO (cut) of the 1st round at 5:00. Southworth was winning the round, having scored a takedown and controlling the clinch, until "Babalu" opened up a horrendous gash above Bobby's left eye with ten seconds to go. "Big" John McCarthy stopped the action to let doctors inspect, and Southworth finished the round by dropping "Babalu" with a punch just before the bell. However, when doctors got a better look at the wound between rounds, the fight was stopped due to the size and depth of the cut. Southworth announced he would like a rematch and Sobral verbally agreed, however a rematch was never organized and following Sobral's 2013 retirement it is unlikely a rematch would ever occur.

Post-Strikeforce career[edit]

Southworth also tried out for 11th season of The Ultimate Fighter. However, despite the fact that both the Middleweights and Light-Heavyweights were invited to try out, the UFC decided that the season would focus exclusively on Middleweights.[6]

In the last bout of his career, Southworth faced Aaron Boyes at Xtreme MMA 2 on July 31, 2010. He won the fight via first-round knockout.

Personal life[edit]

Bobby has four children, 3 daughters and one son.[7]

Bobby co-founded the American Kickboxing Academy Sunnyvale in 2008.[8] In 2015, Southworth began coaching at UFC Gym Hollow Brook in San Antonio, Texas until it closed down due to the COVID-19 pandemic.[3][9]

Championships and accomplishments[edit]

Mixed martial arts record[edit]

Professional record breakdown
17 matches 10 wins 6 losses
By knockout 6 3
By submission 2 2
By decision 2 1
No contests 1
Res. Record Opponent Method Event Date Round Time Location Notes
Win 10–6 (1) Aaron Boyes TKO (punches) Xtreme MMA 2 July 31, 2010 1 1:56 Sydney, NSW, Australia
Loss 9–6 (1) Renato Sobral TKO (cut) Strikeforce: Destruction November 21, 2008 1 5:00 San Jose, California, United States Lost the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.
Win 9–5 (1) Anthony Ruiz Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Melendez vs. Thomson June 27, 2008 5 5:00 San Jose, California, United States Defended the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.
Loss 8–5 (1) Anthony Ruiz TKO (cut) Strikeforce: Four Men Enter, One Man Survives November 16, 2007 2 0:52 San Jose, California, United States Non-title bout.
Win 8–4 (1) Bill Mahood TKO (rib injury) Strikeforce: Playboy Mansion September 29, 2007 1 1:15 Beverly Hills, California, United States
Win 7–4 (1) Vernon White Decision (unanimous) Strikeforce: Triple Threat December 8, 2006 5 5:00 San Jose, California, United States Won the inaugural Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Championship.
NC 6–4 (1) James Irvin No Contest Strikeforce: Revenge June 9, 2006 1 0:17 San Jose, California, United States Both fighters fell from the cage.
Loss 6–4 Sam Hoger Decision (unanimous) The Ultimate Fighter 1 Finale April 9, 2005 3 5:00 Las Vegas, Nevada, United States
Win 6–3 Bryan Pardoe TKO X-1 September 6, 2003 2 0:14 Yokohama, Japan
Win 5–3 Brian Vanderwalle Submission (armbar) IFC WC 18: Big Valley Brawl July 19, 2003 1 4:28 Lakeport, California, United States
Loss 4–3 David Pa'aluhi KO Warriors Quest 4: Genesis March 29, 2002 1 0:16 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Win 4–2 Floyd Sword TKO IFC WC 14: Warriors Challenge 14 July 18, 2001 3 5:00 Friant, California, United States
Loss 3–2 Vitor Belfort Submission (rear-naked choke) PRIDE 13: Collision Course March 25, 2001 1 4:09 Saitama, Saitama, Japan
Win 3–1 Ivan Sequet TKO (submission to strikes) Bushido 1 January 18, 2001 1 Tempe, Arizona, United States
Win 2–1 Toby Oberdine Submission (choke) IFC WC 10: Warriors Challenge 10 October 11, 2000 1 2:30 Friant, California, United States
Win 1–1 Bob Ostovich TKO (punches) SB 12: SuperBrawl 12 June 1, 1999 1 4:22 Honolulu, Hawaii, United States
Loss 0–1 Jason Godsey Submission (choke) Neutral Grounds 12 May 28, 1999 N/A United States


  1. ^ a b Mixed martial arts show results Date: April 9, 2005
  2. ^ a b Jason Przewoznik (August 17, 2011). "Bobby Southworth — Family man with heavy hands!".
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Phil Lanides (September 14, 2020). "Interview with Former Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion Bobby Southworth" (Podcast).
  4. ^ "AKA Texas".
  5. ^ a b Mark Emmons (November 19, 2008). "San Jose's Southworth tries to keep MMA career going". The Mercury News.
  6. ^ Dann Stupp. ""The Ultimate Fighter 11" tryouts draw Bobby Southworth, Nick Thompson, Logan Clark". Retrieved 2015-06-12.
  7. ^ [1] Archived April 10, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "About Us — AKA Thailand". Retrieved December 2, 2020.
  9. ^ @UFCGYMBrkHollow (May 29, 2015). "We are proud to announce that Bobby Southworth has joined the Coaching Staff of UFC!" (Tweet) – via Twitter.

External links[edit]

New championship 1st Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion
December 8, 2006-November 21, 2008
Succeeded by