Tom Hardy still does not have an Academy Award, but now he does have a gold medal from the 2022 Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open Championship. The 45-year-old actor, famous for his roles in Inception, Mad Max: Fury Road, and the Venom franchise, took home the top prize at the UMAC Milton Keynes Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Open on September 17.
Hardy competed as a “high-level blue belt” in the category of men 41-and-older. Per local paper the Milton Keynes Citizen, Hardy told one stunned opponent, “Just forget it’s me and do what you would normally do.”
In August, Hardy won another Jiu-Jitsu event–a competition in Wolverhampton for the REORG charity that he works with–where he defeated a 40-year-old fighter named Danny Appleton. Appleton told The Northern Echo, “He’s just a top guy–he’s very strong which surprised me and a very good fighter. But he’s probably the toughest competitor I’ve had — he certainly lived up to his Bane character, that’s for sure.” Hardy apparently has ties to North East England through his wife, actress Charlotte Riley, as well as one of his grandfathers.
Hardy’s victories may seem surprising, but if any A-list actor was going to be a talented Jiu-Jitsu fighter, it makes sense that it’s Hardy. First off, he’s huge. Second, he literally played Charles Bronson, England’s most notoriously violent prison inmate. And third, he’s done a slew of action-intensive roles, including the MMA drama Warrior, Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight Rises, and the underground boxing flick Sucker Punch. Hardy is also known for his radical physical transformations before undertaking various roles, and Jiu-Jitsu was an important part of his training routine to get in shape for Venom. According to British rapper Tinie Tempah, he and Hardy are part of a group of fighters who trained together a few times a week before the COVID-19 lockdown.
Hardy has several high-profile films in the works, including the drug-deal-gone-wrong thriller Havoc, the 60’s motorcycle gang film The Bikeriders, and, of course, Venom 3.