At last year’s UAEJJF World Pro, Ffion Eira Davies was an underdog. She was one of the brown belts rolling in a sea of black belts, and although she made it to the finals and only lost by decision after a very impressive match against Bianca Basilio, she was still considered by many to be an up-and-comer.
A year later, Davies is here and at the top. After earning her black belt in late 2018, she skipped the whole “growing into it” phase and jumped directly to the top of the podium at every possible opportunity. Less than a month after her promotion, she made history by becoming the first UK black belt to win No-Gi Worlds. She then won Euros and then submitted Gezary Matuda at Polaris 9, ensuring that if you hadn’t been paying attention to her before, you definitely were now.
At this year’s World Pro, we’re seeing a Ffion Davies that had evolved both in her technique and her mentality. She submitted both Atos standout Nikki Sullivan and super skilled brown belt Kira Sung on her way to the finals, and tomorrow, she’ll be going up against ADCC champion Beatriz (“Bia”) Mesquita. Mesquita is one of jiu-jitsu’s most decorated athletes and will likely be Davies’ biggest challenge yet. But given how far this Welsh grappler has come in so little time, Mesquita needs to watch her back (and arms and legs and neck) just as much as Davies does.
We caught up with Davies after her matches today, and she told us about just how much her mindset has changed from the last time we saw her at the World Pro. Take a look: