Sydney Sweeney Did MMA For Six Years, Actually

Is there anything Sydney Sweeney can’t do? She’s starred in everything from romcoms like Anyone But You and thrillers like Immaculate (of course, with a little Euphoria in between). Now, the 26-year-old is gearing up to play boxer Christy Martin in an upcoming biopic.

The David Michôd-directed movie doesn’t have a title yet, but it will track the story of Christy's rise to become America’s best-known female boxer (a.k.a. the "female Rocky," per the film's producers). Christy became a welterweight champion, but she struggled with personal demons and toxic relationships behind the scenes, according to Deadline.

Of course, Sydney has personal experience with mixed martial arts (MMA), making this a natural fit for her. But what is Sydney’s MMA background? Here’s everything to know.

Sydney’s been practicing mixed martial arts (MMA) since she was 12.

Sydney moved to Los Angeles as a preteen, but found it tough to join sports there. “I really wanted to find something that was as physically challenging as everything [back home],” the Spokane, Washington, native told Women’s Health in 2023. “Some of my guy friends were MMA training, and they were doing grappling, and I was like, 'This is so cool.'”

Sydney went to a dojo with her friends, and immediately fell in love. “It's a sisterhood and a brotherhood amongst the fighters and the trainers,” she said. “It's such a beautiful community of people who have each other's backs, and you learn discipline and you learn respect.”

She took part in her first competition when she was 18.

Sydney told WH that she started hitting the dojo two to three times a week for the next five or six years. She even trained with pro wrestler Ronda Rousey's senseis, she said on a 2022 Kelly Clarkson Show appearance.

Once she turned 18, the actress tested her skills in her first-ever competition. “It was a grappling competition against all guys a weight category above me, and I got first place,” she told Marie Claire in 2018. “Those guys were probably saying, ‘Oh, we didn’t want to hurt her,’ but they were definitely trying. Everyone broke a sweat.”

Sydney still practices in her spare time.

Unfortunately, Sydney can't compete as much as she used to, telling Kelly in 2022 that, when she's starring on a show, “You sign a little piece of paper that says you’re not to do X, Y, and Z." But she still practices MMA when she can.

The White Lotus alum has casually shared video on Instagram of herself going bananas while training. Check her out throwing jabs, dodging punches and generally beating the heck out of her trainer in this Instagram post from 2022:

“Missed this,” she captioned the clip.

She's “itching" to start training for her role as Christy.

Sydney seems pretty pumped about her upcoming role. “I’ve been itching to get back into the ring, train, and transform my body,” she told Deadline. “Christy’s story isn’t a light one, it’s physically and emotionally demanding, there’s a lot of weight to carry. But I love challenging myself.”

She added that Christy's tale will be "powerful" and "emotional."

“Christy Martin not only legitimized female boxing, she overcame gender stereotypes, and fought through emotional, physical, and financial abuse," she explained. "I’m passionate about the fighting world, [and] Christy’s story shines a light on her incredible rise to the top while showing the struggles of fame behind the curtains. I feel compelled to tell a story about a woman who faced so much adversity and didn’t allow it to defeat her."

Can’t wait!

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