By Frank Bonada
Since the inception of the International Mixed Martial Arts Federation (IMMAF) in 2012, athletes who have captured gold medals on the international stage have consistently gone on to achieve massive success in the professional ranks of MMA.
Ahead of the 2023 IMMAF World Championships, which will officially take place in Tirana, Albania, between 20 – 25 November, we will be looking at some of the greatest World Champions to have ever competed under the IMMAF banner, and how their careers have since progressed.
Next up is France’s Manon Fiorot.
Having begun training in karate at the age of seven, Fiorot’s natural aptitude for martial arts quickly became apparent. After winning the Division 2 national championships, Fiorot would progress to place third in the highly touted First Division. She also joined the renowned French national team, later achieving a perfect 15-0 amateur K-1 record and securing two national titles, before making the switch to mixed martial arts.
After failing to reach the medals podium at the 2016 IMMAF World Championships, Fiorot would demonstrate her mental fortitude as well as her ability to adapt and improve, returning in 2017 to claim an IMMAF European Championships silver medal. She came just short of gold, dropping a submission loss to three-time IMMAF gold medallist, Cornelia Holm.
However, just seven months later, Fiorot once again stepped into the IMMAF Fighting Area, this time at the 2017 IMMAF World Championships. The French phenom would go undefeated in this tournament, defeating Finland’s Chamia Chabbi in the finals, cementing her status as an IMMAF World Champion.
Having reached the pinnacle of amateur mixed martial arts, Manon Fiorot made the switch to pro-MMA, debuting under one of Europe’s leading promotions, Cage Warriors. Here she would be matched up with 2016 IMMAF World Champion Leah McCourt, in a much-anticipated main card bout. The fight was a highly competitive back and forth, although McCourt would edge Fiorot via split decision.
This would mark Fiorot’s last loss to date, as she would go on to put together a run that saw her defeat all manner of opposition all the way up to contendership for the UFC women’s flyweight title. In the process, Fiorot would feature on EFC’s mixed martial arts reality TV series ‘The Fighter,’ where she rematched Cornelia Holm in an exhibition bout. This time it was Fiorot who came out on top, defeating her former foe via unanimous decision and winning the competition in the process.
Manon Fiorot would compete in two professional bouts under the EFC banner, defeating Mellony Geugjes in emphatic fashion, and outpointing former IMMAF World Champion Amanda Lino over the distance. Fiorot then made the move to Abu Dhabi-based promotion, UAE Warriors. Here, the French phenom would announce herself as one of the very best talents on the regionals, with three successive finishes against legitimate opposition.
Fiorot’s highlight reel with UAE Warriors naturally caught the attention of the UFC, and, at UFC Fight Night: Chiesa vs. Magny, she would make her promotional debut. On a card filled with the likes of Umar Nurmagomedov, Lerone Murphy and Ricky Simón, it can be tough to stand out. However, Fiorot would land a picture-perfect high kick to her opponent, Victoria Leonardo, stunning the American, quickly leading to the finish in the second round.
Since then, Manon Fiorot has gone from strength to strength, defeating some of the very best the UFC has on its women’s flyweight roster, including the likes of Mayra Bueno Silva, Jennifer Maia and Katlyn Chookagian. Most recently, Fiorot competed in the co-main event spot in her home country of France. She took on former strawweight champion Rose Namajunas, in a top contender bout. Fiorot put on a clinic in front of her home fans, claiming a convincing unanimous decision victory.
Now ranked at No.3 in the UFC’s flyweight rankings, boasting a professional record of 11-1, Fiorot is within touching distance of a UFC title shot.
Fiorot’s dogged resilience and exceptional work ethic has paid off throughout her career as a mixed martial artist. Her hard work and determination make her the perfect role model for the next generation of rising stars to look up to. Tune in to the 2023 IMMAF World Championships to see which upcoming athletes could follow Manon Fiorot on the pathway that she has forged over the past seven years.