CrossFit Superstars Sara Sigmundsdottir and Bjorgvin Gudmundsson Try MMA

OK, but what is fitness? The standard response from many CrossFit® athletes is something along the lines of “constantly varied functional movements executed at high intensity across broad time and modal domains.”

Others may say something closer to “readiness for whatever life throws at you” or “an ability to meet the demands of your environment.” An ability to lift a box or sprint for a bus. That’s why there’s actually a really good case for combat in tests of fitness. Sure, you can handle an unexpected heavy box or an early bus, but what about a fist?

Two of the world’s fittest people decided to experiment with that idea in an Icelandic MMA gym. Very famous Icelandic mixed martial artist Gunnar Nelson, who holds black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and is currently the ranked #11 in the UFC Welterweight rankings, took fourth Fittest Woman on Earth™ Sara Sigmundsdottir and fourth Fittest Man on Earth ™ Karl Gudmundsson through some training at Mjölnir, an MMA gym in Reykjavik. (Yes, that’s named after Thor’s hammer.)

Check it out below. The video is all in Icelandic, but you can switch on subtitles.

“They are surprisingly good at this,” Nelson admits halfway through.

The video starts with the athletes testing their punches and kicks — “It’s not easy to teach CrossFitters to keep their weight on the toes, they usually have the weight on the heels” — before graduating to chokeholds at the 4:27 mark. “It’s like you are hugging someone dearly with all your heart,” says Nelson in a surprisingly heartwarming description of throttling a person’s jugular.

[Nelson is a teammate of former Lightweight champion Connor McGregor. Click here to see McGregor fighting Hafthor Bjornsson, of all people.]

Skip to 6:45 to see a really interesting face off: Gudmundsson had to try and submit Nelson who, to make things easier, was already lying on the ground and wasn’t allowed to use his hands to defend himself. Nelson still managed to win.

“It’s like you were breaking me slowly from the inside,” Gudmundsson gasped. “He is hard to take down. It’s just impossible.”

Sadly, we didn’t get to see Sigmundsdottir spar with her partner Sunna Davidsdottir, an undefeated mixed martial artist who fights with the Invicta Fighting Championships. But she did get the last line of the video.

“The training was awesome, went a lot better than I expected. It was more fun than I expected. It reminded me of when I was snatching for the first time. A little bit of co-ordination, but it was a lot of fun.”

Featured image via Mjölnir MMA on YouTube.

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Nick is a content producer and journalist with over seven years’ experience reporting on four continents. His first articles about health were on a cholera outbreak in rural Kenya while he was reporting for a French humanitarian organization. His next writing job was covering the nightlife scene in Shanghai. He’s written on a lot of different kinds of things, but his passion for health ultimately led him to cover it full time.Shanghai was where he managed to publish his first health related article (it was on managing diarrhea), he then went on to produce a radio documentary about bodybuilding in Australia before he finished his Master’s degrees in Journalism and International Relations and headed to New York City. Here, he’s been writing on health full time for more than five years for outlets like Men's Health, VICE, and Popular Science.Nick’s interest in health kind of comes from an existential angle: how are we meant to live? How do we reach our potential? Does the body influence the mind? (Believe it or not, his politics Master’s focused on religion.)Questions like these took him through a lot of different areas of health and fitness like gymnastics, vegetarianism, kettlebell training, fasting, CrossFit, Paleo, and so on, until he realized (or decided) that strength training fit best with the ideas of continuous, measurable self improvement.At BarBend his writing focuses a little more on nutrition and long-form content with a heaping dose of strength training. His underlying belief is in the middle path: you don’t have to count every calorie and complete every workout in order to benefit from a healthy lifestyle and a stronger body. Plus, big traps are cool.