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Nicole Sullivan - An American BJJ Black Belt

Nicole Sullivan - An American BJJ Black Belt

1. Nicole Sullivan Details

Nicole Sullivan Details
Name Yves Nicole Christine Sullivan
Nickname “Nikki”
Date of Birth 6th August 1988
Nationality American
Born Champaign, Illinois
Age 34 Years
College/University Indiana University, Bloomington
Profession Martial Artist
Last Fight 2020
Last Weigh in 64 kg
Weight Class Division Peso Leve (64,00 kg / 141.5 lbs)
Height 5'6"
Career Disclosed Earning N/A
Fought Out of San Diego, California
Foundational Style Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu
Favorite Technique Inverted Guard (Panda Guard)
Belt Rank Black Belt
Awarded by André Galvão
Head Coach André Galvão
Lineage Carlos Gracie (Senior) -> Reyson Gracie -> Osvaldo Alves -> Luis Dagmar (Careca) -> André Galvão -> Nicole Sullivan
Affiliation Nice Guy Submission Fighting
Team/Association Atos Jiu-Jitsu

2. Nicole Sullivan Biography

Nikki Sullivan is a dynamic force to be reckoned with in the world of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. From a young age, she was an active ground player, honing her skills on the soccer field in high school. But it wasn't until her college years that she truly found her calling in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

With her fierce determination and tireless spirit, Nikki Sullivan gained a high rank in the grappling world, competing at the international levels and earning the respect of her peers. Whether she's training at the gym or dominating at a tournament, Nikki Sullivan remained idiosyncratic in the world of martial arts.

2.1. Early Years of Nicole Sullivan's Life

Nicole Sullivan was born on the 6th of August 1988, in the home of the University of Illinois, Champaign. At an early age, Nicole Sullivan moved to Columbus, Indiana with her family where she enjoyed the growing years of her life.

2.2. Nicole’s First Love in Sports

While studying in high school in Indiana, Nikki’s attracted to the exciting and challenging sport of soccer. Nikki always enjoyed playing on the ground that developed an affection for the beautiful game of football. She started practicing and competing until her final year of high school.

2.3. Enrolled in Indiana University (IU)

After completing her high school degree, Nikki enrolled in the renowned university of Indiana. IU  was recognized for having one of the top martial arts programs in the country. Nicole availed of that opportunity eagerly. She signed up for the taekwondo course during her early years at the university.

2.4. Discovered the World of Martial Arts

Nicole Sullivan’s martial arts journey started at Indiana University in Bloomington. Despite initially being drawn to the Korean art of Taekwondo. However, her love for martial arts was far from reckoned.

2.5. Reawakened Nikki’s Passion

After a brief stint in Taekwondo, Nikki discovered the practicality and effectiveness of Hapkido and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. In her senior university years, Nikki’s passion was reignited, leading her down the path of Hapkido and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. She finally opted for her true calling in the world of martial arts - BJJ.

2.6. Nicole Sullivan’s Dedicated Efforts

She was immediately drawn to the practicality and efficiency of styles and techniques of both combat sports. She devoted herself to attaining high ranks in both martial arts. Nicole Sullivan's journey in the world of martial arts has been one of perseverance and determination.

2.7. BJJ Under Evan Mannweiler

Nikki started professional Jiu-Jitsu training under the supervision of Evan Mannweiler who was a purple belt at the time. Sullivan's interest in physical activities was based on her love of grappling. This "love at first sight" with the sport meant that Nicole fully embraced the university's grappling community and continued her training after graduation.

2.8. Meet with Josh Hinger

While counting on her graduation from Indiana University, Nikki had the privilege of meeting Josh Hinger, a well-known BJJ competitor who was in Indiana working on his Master's degree. Hinger taught her Jiu-Jitsu techniques and she continued her degree. This mentorship played a crucial role in Nicolle's progression in Jiu-Jitsu.

2.9. Promotion to Purple Belt Under the Supervision of Dax Razzano

Nikki also got the chance to polish her skills under Dax Razzano, who was a local black belt at that time in Bloomington. Dax Razzano's guidance magnified her grappling skills and promoted her to Purple Belt by observing Nikki’s phenomenal performance.

2.10. Joined “Nice Guy Submission Fighting”

After her purple belt promotion, Nicole's career as a teacher took her to Kentucky, where she joined “Nice Guy Submission Fighting”, a gym led by Bobby Emmons, Joe Baize, and David Overfield. Nikki's journey in the world of BJJ continued to flourish in Kentucky, where she continued to hone her grappling skills with the motive of attaining new heights in the grappling world.

2.11. Pursued a Professional BJJ Career in California

While in Kentucky, Sullivan began to contemplate making a career change and pursuing her passion for Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a professional grappler. The idea of moving to California was a dream that had been brewing for some time.

2.12. Joined Atos on Josh Hinger’s Encouragement

The final decision to pursue this dream came after the 2017 ADCC West Coast Trials, where Sullivan ran into Josh Hinger. During their meeting, both discussed the possibility of Nikki moving to California to train and pursue her passion for BJJ.

Hinger showed his full support for the idea and encouraged Sullivan to train at Atos full-time, offering to help with the logistics. After joining the Atos BJJ, Nikki's extraordinary grappling skills made her a mainstay of the female Atos Jiu-Jitsu team. Her dedicated approach to Jiu-Jitsu techniques is a testament to her brilliant success on the mat.

2.13. Received Black Belt

As a white belt athlete, attaining the black belt level always seems like a unicorn. When one first puts his/her feet on the mat, it feels almost impossible to reach the black belt level. However, consistency and hard work beyond the comfort zone can make every grappler a black belt. The same thing happened in the journey of Nikii Sullivan.

Arriving in San Diego as an experienced brown belt, Sullivan dedicated herself to her grappling training, putting in dedicated 18 months of hard work and determination. On January 2, 2019, her efforts were rewarded when she received her black belt from the co-founder of Atos, André Galvão.

2.14. Sponsored by Elite Sports

Sponsored by Elite Sports

Couple of years ago, Nicole Sullivan was spotted in a BJJ Gi that was nothing short of a work of art. This stupendous piece of martial arts attire was graced with the emblem of a recognizable brand of  Elite Sports. Gi’s sleek design and top-notch color and quality, made her look like a formidable warrior, but it also displayed her allegiance to one of the most trusted names in the world of BJJ gear. So, the next time you step on the mat, take inspiration from Nicole and choose the unmatched excellence of Elite Sports.

2.15. Interview by Elite Sports

Elite sports conducted an exclusive interview to know the life journey and achievements of a proficient BJJ fighter, Nicole Sullivan. This interview uncovered all the secrets behind her success and brought you an inside look into the true struggle behind this diva.

Question: Any major accomplishments you’ve been able to achieve in that time?

Answer: I won the Abu Dhabi Pro Trials as a blue belt and had the opportunity to go compete in Abu Dhabi. As a purple belt, I won the No-Gi Pan Ams twice. Most recently, I am a 2x Fight To Win Champion, and I was a finalist at the 2017 ADCC West Coast Trials.

Question: What are your goals for this year? Next 3 years? Next 5 years?

Answer: This year: I want to be a world champion of Gi, and No-Gi!

Next 3 years: I want to get my black belt and be an instructor in a gym.

Next 5 years: I want to find a way to do Jiu-Jitsu for a living.

Question: What inspires you about BJJ?

Answer: I love that a smaller, weaker person can use technique and skill to defeat someone bigger and stronger.

Question: How long have you been training?

Answer: 7.5 years.

Question: How often do you train?

Answer: 6 days a week, for 2-3 hours a day.

Question: What are the essential things for the training?

Answer: Focus and hard work to perfect your techniques.

Question: What sort of gear do you usually keep in your gym bag before hitting the gym? Do you have different items for specific days

Answer: I keep a Gi, a rash guard, and spats. Also my belt, and extra clothes.

Question: Do you have a go-to finishing move?

Answer: I like many submissions, but my favorite is to take the back and choke!

Question: What do you think it takes to be a champion in your sports?

Answer: Dedication. If you work hard and don't give up, you can succeed.

3. Historic Fights of Nicole Sullivan

3.1. Nicole Sullivan Vs. Danielle Kelly

Start of the Fight

This was the final of the No-Gi IBJJF San Jose Open 2020 held between Nicole Sullivan and Danielle Kelly. Daniel is an active BJJ and UFC fighter.

The referee started the match and Danielle separated one leg of Nicole and tried to offensively reap her knee but failed to execute the move because of her technical defense game. In the second attempt, both fighters rolled in the 50/50 positions and then Nicole was on top struggling to control the legs of Danielle.

Overcame her opponent and got the Submission

She tried a half armbar attempt but it was futile.   Danielle’s agility and flexibility was making her look easy to dominate the show. Meanwhile, Danielle scored two points for knee on belly. Her coach shouted from the back, “Attack the toehold” and Danielle nodded. But Nicole swept and got two points. In the next attack, Nicole got hold of the back of Danielle and got 4 points of back control. After the struggle for a few minutes, Nicole finally got her second hook in and transitioned into a triangle, and applied an armbar from the triangle position for the submission.

3.2. Nicole Sullivan Vs. Taylor Biagi

This was the semifinal of the IBJJF 2020 Pan No-Gi Championship fought between Nicole Sullivan and Tylor Biagi under the lightweight female black belt division. Tylor was a four times Pan title winner at lower belt levels and a BJJ instructor.

Both competitors started the match with great spirit and zeal. Rolling with each other, trying to gain a secure position, avoiding and defending the attacks of the opponent, and making some sloppy mistakes. Meanwhile, Nicole earned two points on the scoreboard. Attacked double leg takedown, earned two points, and tried to control the legs of Nicole. The match ended with two points each and Nicole two extra advantage points and the win.

3.3. Nicole Sullivan Vs. Vanessa Wexler

The final of IBJJF American National 2019 was held between Nicole Sullivan and Vanessa Wexler. Venissa is a mother, BJJ Black Belt fighter, school owner, and model.

Start of the Fight

The fight started with the instant drama of No-Gi fights. Both fighters attacked each other and showed flexibility and techniques. Nikki was comfortable on the ground and Venissa chose the standing position for attacks. Nikki passed the guard and got two points.

Dominant Show of Skills and Controlled Power

Later Nikki got another two points and the scorecard showed 4/0. Nikki passed another guard and got two points and another 3 points for a knee on the belly and another knee on the belly, 4 points for a back take. The scorecard showed 16/0 and one advantage point for Nikki. Nikki applied the RNC and got the historic dominant submission.

4. Main Achievements

Year Event Medal
2018 IBJJF World No-Gi Championship Bronze Bronze Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF World Championship Bronze Bronze Medal Icon
2018 UAEJJF Grand Slam, Los Angeles Silver Silver Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF American NoGi Nationals Silver Silver Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF American Nationals Silver Silver Medal Icon
2018 F2W Bantamweight Title Gold Gold Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF American NoGi Nationals Gold Gold Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF American Nationals Gold Gold Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF Pan NoGi Championship Gold Gold Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF Masters World Championship Gold Gold Medal Icon
2019 IBJJF Masters World Championship Gold Gold Medal Icon
2019 IBJJF Portland Open Championship Gold Gold Medal Icon
2019 IBJJF Pan Championship Silver Silver Medal Icon
2019 ADCC US West Coast Trials Silver Silver Medal Icon
2019 IBJJF Los Angeles Pro Championship Silver Silver Medal Icon
2020 IBJJF European Open Championship Bronze Bronze Medal Icon
2020 UAEJJF Grand Slam, MIA Championship Gold Gold Medal Icon

5. Main Achievements (Belts)

5.1. Nicole Sullivan Colored Belt Achievements

Year Event Belt Medal
2018 IBJJF World No-Gi Championship Brown Bronze Bronze Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF World Championship Brown Bronze Bronze Medal Icon
2018 UAEJJF Grand Slam, Los Angeles Brown Silver Silver Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF American NoGi Nationals Brown Silver Silver Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF American Nationals Brown Silver Silver Medal Icon
2018 F2W Bantamweight Title Brown Gold Gold Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF American NoGi Nationals Brown Gold Gold Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF American Nationals Brown Gold Gold Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF Pan NoGi Championship Brown Gold Gold Medal Icon
2018 IBJJF Masters World Championship Brown Gold Gold Medal Icon

5.2. Black Belts of Nicole Sullivan

Year Event Belt Medal
2019 IBJJF Masters World Championship Black Gold Gold Medal Icon
2019 IBJJF Portland Open Championship Black Gold Gold Medal Icon
2019 IBJJF Pan Championship Black Silver Silver Medal Icon
2019 ADCC US West Coast Trials Black Silver Silver Medal Icon
2019 IBJJF Los Angeles Pro Championship Black Silver Silver Medal Icon
2020 IBJJF European Open Championship Black Bronze Bronze Medal Icon
2020 UAEJJF Grand Slam, MIA Championship Black Gold Gold Medal Icon

6. Accomplishments and Position

Year Event Position
2018 IBJJF World No-Gi Championship 3rd
2018 IBJJF World Championship 3rd
2018 UAEJJF Grand Slam, Los Angeles 2nd
2018 IBJJF American NoGi Nationals 2nd
2018 IBJJF American Nationals 2nd
2018 F2W Bantamweight Title 1st
2018 IBJJF American NoGi Nationals 1st
2018 IBJJF American Nationals 1st
2018 IBJJF Pan NoGi Championship 1st
2018 IBJJF Masters World Championship 1st
2019 IBJJF Masters World Championship 1st
2019 IBJJF Portland Open Championship 1st
2019 IBJJF Pan Championship 2nd
2019 ADCC US West Coast Trials 2nd
2019 IBJJF Los Angeles Pro Championship 2nd
2020 IBJJF European Open Championship 3rd
2020 UAEJJF Grand Slam, MIA Championship 1st

7. Nicole Sullivan Professional Record Breakdown

52 Matches 28 Wins 24 Losses
By Submission 6 6
By Points 4 6
By Advantage 2 0
By Decision 4 2
Split Decision 2 1
By OT 0 1
By Penalty 0 1
Other 10 7

8. Nikki Sullivan Submission Method Breakdown

Submission Techniques 6 Wins 6 Loss
RNC 0 1
Outside Heel Hook 0 1
Armbar 0 3
Choke 1 0
Toe Hold 1 0
Wrist Lock 1 0
Darce Choke 1 0
Knee Bar 2 0
Triangle Choke 0 1

9. Fight History of Nicole Sullivan

Year Event Opponent W/L Method Weight Class
2021 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Larissa Campos L Points Featherweight
2021 World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship Kristin Mikkelson W Decision Lightweight
2021 World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship Ffion Davies L Armbar Lightweight
2021 Medusa 1 B. Ste-Marie L OT Bantamweight
2021 Medusa 1 Juliana Miller W Darce Choke Bantamweight
2021 Medusa 1 Gillian Robertson W Knee Bar Bantamweight
2021 Fight to Win 183 Sophia Nordeno L Split Decision ---
2021 Pan Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Margot Ciccarelli L Decision Lightweight
2020 IBJJF Pan No-Gi Championship T. Biagi W Advantage Lightweight
2020 IBJJF Pan No-Gi Championship Vannessa Griffin L Penalty Absolute Division
2020 IBJJF Pan No-Gi Championship Nathalie Ribeiro L RNC Lightweight
2020 Pan Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Nathalie Ribeiro L Points Lightweight
2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Miami A. Enriquez W Points 62kgs
2020 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Miami Heather Woods W Points 62kgs
2020 Fight to Win 153 Chelsah Lyons W Split Decision 145 lbs
2020 Fight to Win 137 Erin Johnosn W Knee Bar 140lbs
2020 European Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Fffion Davies L Points Lightweight
2019 World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship Gabi McComb L Other Absolute Division
2019 World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship Kristin Mikkelson W Other Lightweight
2019 World IBJJF Jiu-Jitsu No-Gi Championship Nathalie Ribeiro L Other Lightweight
2019 Fight 2 Win 119 Sarah Block W Decision 135lbs
2019 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Gabi Lima L Other Lightweight
2019 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Amandine Layec Toulon W Other Lightweight
2019 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Nathiely de Jesus L Other Absolute Division
2019 World Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Elizabeth Mitrović W Other Absolute Division
2019 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship Ffion Davies L Other 62kgs
2019 Abu Dhabi World Professional Jiu-Jitsu Championship Buyandelger Battsogt L Other 62kgs
2019 Pan Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Jena Bishop W Other Lightweight
2019 Pan Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Gabi Lima L Other Lightweight
2019 ADCC West Coast Trials Jena Bishop L Points -60kgs
2019 ADCC West Coast Trials Ha Bui W Other -60kgs
2019 ADCC West Coast Trials Danielle Kelly W Other -60kgs
2019 ADCC West Coast Trials Sara Apodaca W Other -60kgs
2019 ADCC West Coast Trials Hannah Sharp W Points -60kgs
2018 Fight 2 Win Pro 94 Tracy Pham W Wrist Lock Bantamweight
2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Los Angeles Catherine Perret W Advantage 62kgs
2018 Abu Dhabi Grand Slam Los Angeles Gabi Lima L Points 62kgs
2018 EBI 16 Lila Smadja W Toehold 135lbs
2018 EBI 16 Bianca Basilio L Armbar 135lbs
2018 EBI 16 T. Goodell W OT 135lbs
2018 Fight 2 Win Pro 64 Vanessa Wexler W Decision Bantamweight
2018 Fight 2 Win Pro 61 Nathalie Ribeiro L Decision 130lbs
2017 Fight 2 Win Pro 45 Rossie Snow W Split Decision ---
2017 Fight 2 Win Pro 32 Jessica Eye W Decision 135lbs
2017 ADCC West Coast Trials Elisabeth Clay L Points -60kgs
2017 ADCC West Coast Trials Juliana Miller W Other -60kgs
2017 ADCC West Coast Trials Ashley Yoder W Points -60kgs
2017 ADCC West Coast Trials Jessica Jasper W Other -60kgs
2017 ADCC West Coast Trials Jasmine Rocha W Other -60kgs
2016 Fight 2 Win Pro 13 Cristina Anaya W Other 135lbs
2014 Pan Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Championship Fiona Watson W Choke 125lbs
2014 Pan Jiu-Jitsu IBJJF Cham Lila Smadja L Outside Heel Hook 125lbs

10. Top Fights Link of Nicole Sullivan

Nicole Sullivan vs Madeleine Håkansson / Washington D.C. Summer Open 2019

Nicole Sullivan vs Amanda Loewen / Portland Open 2019

Nicole Sullivan VS Fabiana Borges / World Master 2019

Nicole Sullivan VS Jessica Cristina / Las Vegas Open 2019

Photo Credit: @nikkicuddlejitsu

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