Henri Hooft – MMA Coach

Henri Hooft
DOB: May 21st, 1969
Place of Birth:The Hague, Netherlands
Gym: Sanford MMA
Location: Miami, Florida
Martial Arts Background: Kickboxing
Weight Class:Heavyweight
MMA/Kickboxing Records: N/A
Notable Fighters: Anthony Johnson, Tyrone Spong, Michael Chandler, Gilbert Burns

Henri Hooft’s beginnings in martial arts

Henri Hooft grew up in The Hague, Netherlands and started training karate with his brother when he was 15. His stint in karate was short and quickly switched to kickboxing.

As a teen, Hooft showed to have potential as a fighter and would compete in numerous amateur tournaments. His talents caught the eye of legendary Dutch kickboxer Rob Kaman, who invited Hooft to train with him in Thailand.

Henri Hooft’s time as a fighter

Hooft would have a two decade career as a fighter that would include bouts mainly in kickboxing and also boxing. Competing in over 100 fights between the two sports.

During his time as a fighter, Hooft would win multiple championships in kickboxing and also compete in multiple K-1 fights. His most notable fight was a war with Stefan Leko at the 1999 K-1 GP that he lost by KO.

Hooft would train alongside numerous kickboxing legends including the lumberjack Peter Aerts out of Kops Gym in Amsterdam. He would train at this gym until he retired from fighting in 2007.

Henri Hooft becomes a full time coach

With his time as a fighter over, Henri Hooft decided to become a full time coach. Henri would stay in his country coaching fighters for the next 4 years.

During that time, he would be the head trainer of world champion Tyrone Spong. One of the top K-1 fighters during this time before K-1 shutdown its operations.

4 years later in 2011, Hooft got his biggest opportunity as a coach. Being offered to be the head striking coach at the newly formed Blackzillians gym in Miami, Florida. Hooft quickly jumped at the offer and took his fighter Tyrone Sponge with him to train.

At the Blackzillians, Henri Hooft would teach numerous top fighters like Rashad Evans, Vitor Belfort, Anthony Johnson, and Alistair Overeem. His time as head striking coach at the Blackzillians proved that Henri was one of the best MMA coaches in the world.

Hard Knocks 365/Sanford MMA

After 6 years of coaching at the Blackzillians, the gym dissolved and Hooft went out on his own. In 2017, he would co-found his own academy Hard Knocks 365 and continued coaching some of his Blackzillian students.

The name Hard Knocks 365 wouldn’t stick as Hooft and partner Greg Jones received a sponsorship from Sanford Health. A health company located in Miami that has multiple medical centers throughout the country.

Sanford MMA was born out of this sponsorship, which was the first MMA gym partnered with a medical center. Sanford Health would build a state of the art training facility complete with access to top medical professionals for the fighters.

Sanford MMA becomes a standout MMA gym

Henri Hooft is considered one of the best combat sport coaches in the world today. Having trained numerous champions within MMA and kickboxing.

Now that he has his own academy, he has created one of the best MMA academies in the world. He and his partner Jones will continue training some of the best fighter in the world at Sanford MMA.

Notable fighters

For over a decade, Henri Hooft has helped some of the world’s best fighters become world champions. Currently training numerous of the world’s best fighters.

Some of the fighters Hooft has trained include: Michael Chandler, Tyrone Spong, Anthony Johnson, and Gilbert Burns.

Michael Chandler

Michael Chandler is a 2x Bellator Lightweight Champion that is currently signed with the UFC. Before he got into MMA, Chandler was a walk on at Missouri University and had a wrestling record of 100-40. 

After his amateur wrestling career was done, Chandler quickly transitioned to MMA. His athleticism and wrestling ability led him to becoming undefeated during the first 4 years of his career.

He would spend 10 years in Bellator MMA and the only fighter to win their title 3 times. Chandler is now signed with the UFC and will look to add the UFC title to his resume.

Gilbert Burns

The UFC welterweight contender first started training with Henri Hooft at the Blackzillians in 2014. This is the same amount of time that Burns has fought in the UFC.

In the UFC, Burns has fought in both the lightweight and welterweight divisions. He has been on the most successful run of his career since moving to welterweight. Fighting for the welterweight title against former teammate Kamaru Usman.

On top of being one of the best MMA fighters in the world, Burns is also a former BJJ world champion. He will look to add an MMA championship to his resume in the future.

Anthony Johnson

For the last decade, Anthony Johnson has been one of the most feared fighters in the sport. A knockout artist with high caliber wrestling ability that has fought for multiple UFC titles.

Since 2011, Henri Hooft has been Johnson’s main striking coach. After his 2nd retirement, Johnson is back fighting in Bellator MMA. 

He is currently in the Bellator Heavyweight GP tournament looking to win his first major MMA title.

Henri Hooft’s legacy a coach

Henri Hooft had an illustrious career as a fighter and has had an even better career as a coach. Since he first started coaching at the Blackzillians, Hooft is recognized as one of the best MMA coaches in the world. 

Since going out on his own with Greg Jones in 2017, Hooft has created a top fight gym at Sanford MMA. Hooft’s gym is currently home to numerous fighters within the top 10 of their divisions. 

Sanford MMA and Hooft are currently on a mission to prove their gym is the best in the world. Henri Hooft will continue sharing his knowledge and train the next crop of top MMA fighters and maybe win world titles.