Australian Bantamweight, Trent Girdham, was forced to wait until the world re-opened to make his return to the RIZIN Fighting Federation ring in late 2022, and things couldn’t have gone any worse.
Paired with kickboxing star, Genji Umeno, Girdham made his kickboxing debut in the promotion (his third appearance overall). “Nino Loco” took a break from MMA during the pandemic, boxing his way to two victories and one defeat before re-integrating kicks into the striking arsenal for a match. Unfortunately, those exact strikes led to Girdham’s downfall in only 21 seconds when an ill-fated leg kick dislocated his kneecap.
“That was a bit of a shock because I’d been doing so much conditioning, I was feeling so strong,” Girdham told MMA Mania on BROADENED HORIZIN. “My plan was to knock Genji out then jump straight into an MMA fight. God had a different plan then it just makes me stronger. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.”
Leg injuries are nothing new in combat sports, but typically, they’ll come in the form of bone breaks or ligament sprains and tears. A knee dislocation was a jarring sight and a painful experience for Girdham. However, it wasn’t the first time he’d fallen victim to such an occurrence.
“It’s happened three times in my life within eight years,” Girdham said. “I’ve never had surgery on my knees. I’ve always somehow — God’s just given me a little shot to the knee and it’s gone back into place. Everyone always panics when that happens.
“First time, I think I was 18,” he continued. “I was having a Muay Thai fight, warming up next to the arena, so like out in the street on concrete. My opponent was watching and I threw a spinning elbow. My knee got caught and that’s the first time it dislocated.
“The second time was like the last day of training with [Alexander] Volkanovski in one of his camps,” Girdham concluded. “Same thing, someone shot a takedown and I sprawled real heavy. I just turned and the knee came out.”
The Oct. 2022 Umeno loss left the 25-year-old with some inflammation and swelling in his knee, forcing him to limp around when walking. That was about the extent of the injury after popping it back into place and led Girdham to his first hospital visit after a fight in his 25-fight professional combat sports career (13-4 in MMA, 3-1 in boxing, 1-1 in KB, 0-1 in shoot boxing).
Girdham wasted no time getting back to training and seeking a rebound win after the painful quick loss. In April 2023, the Tiger Muay Thai product returned to MMA action, defeating Kushal Vyas with a first-round rear-naked choke.
The man simply loves to fight no matter the price he has to pay. Girdham intends on securing his first RIZIN victory against Joji Goto at RIZIN 43 this weekend (Sat., June 24, 2023).
“I’ll probably be a stubborn motherf—ker,” Girdham said about an eventual retirement. “But when I start losing to people I shouldn’t be losing to, I’ll definitely hang it up. I plan to fight until I can barely walk. People already [see] I’m willing to dislocate my knee, I’m willing to get knocked out. I want people to stomp on my head, soccer kick me, I don’t care. This is what I signed up for. This is what I wanted to do since I was a little boy. So, this is the only way.”
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