Issue 059

February 2010

A perennial contender who has challenged for the title at both lightweight and welterweight, Sherk is a dangerous fighter and one of the toughest competitors in the UFC lightweight division. A former UFC lightweight champion, he was stripped of the title after a positive test for performance enhancers in 2007, something he strenuously denies – Sherk even took the California State Athletic Commission to court to protest his innocence, claiming a failure in the testing procedure.  


Name Sean Sherk 

Age 36

Height 5’6”

Category 155lb

Record 33-4-1 

8 (T)KOs (24.24%) 

13 Submissions (39.39%)

12 Decisions (36.36%)

Fighting Style Wrestling / Boxing

Fights out of Oak Grove, Minnesota

Active since 1999

Sherk won the lightweight title by beating Kenny Florian and defended it against Hermes Franca, but came up short in trying to take back the title from BJ Penn (who acquired it during Sherk’s enforced absence from competition). Since then, Sherk’s fortunes have been mixed; he is 1-1 since the loss to Penn, with a win over the dynamic Tyson Griffin but a loss to the energetic Frankie Edgar.  

Sherk has a reputation as one of the most hard-working fighters in MMA. Those who have seen his brutal training regimens can attest to his athletic abilities. His workouts are considered among some of the most demanding in all of MMA, and his ‘caveman’ training sessions have inspired fighters around the world.  

Sherk is returning from a shoulder injury that has seen him sidelined since mid 2009 and will look to once again climb the lightweight rankings toward the title.  


Though he is predominantly known as a wrestler (Sherk has wrestled since the age of seven) Sherk’s boxing is better than most fighters who have come from a grappling background. With a 67” reach, Sherk’s style centers on the use of short hooks and uppercuts from mid-to-close range. For an excellent display of his hand speed and use of combinations see his fight with Nick Diaz from 2006..  


Sherk’s short, powerful frame means that he is exceptionally well-suited to taking opponents down and working them over from top position. His stocky torso and short arms and legs make him an excellent top-game player and extremely hard to budge, but unlike many wrestlers Sherk has developed his jiu-jitsu so that he can attack his opponents from side mount as well as inside the guard. 

Gas Tank 

Possibly Sherk’s most famous attribute is his conditioning. The former lightweight champ trains at the Athletic Performance Inc. training center in Minnesota, and the ‘caveman’ training methods he is known for have become world famous. Sherk’s cardio means he can go for five rounds at the same pace.



Makes MMA debut, fights fives times.  


Fights an 18-year-old Karo Parisyan.  


Suffers first loss to Matt Hughes in welterweight title fight.  


Fights a total of eight times, all outside of the UFC.  


Drops to 155lb, wins vacant lightweight title.  


Stripped of title due to positive test for performance enhancers. 


Fights only once due to shoulder injury.