Duane Paul Ludwig (August 4, 1978) is an American professional mixed martial arts fighter. A professional MMA competitor since 2000, Ludwig has mostly fought in Colorado and California. He currently fights for the Ultimate Fighting Championships, in their welterweight and lightweight divisions. He holds a notable knockout win over former UFC lightweight champion, Jens Pulver.
Duane starting practicing Muay Thai when he was 15 years old. He would have a successful amateur career winning twelve of his fourteen bouts and picking up three I.K.F. Muay Thai national and regional titles. He turned professional in 2000 when he defeated Terrance Jones at a Ring of Fire event, in what was a rematch from their amateur days. At the end of the year Duane won his first pro title by winning the W.K.A. US national title, which he followed with the I.M.T.C. title the next year. He had his first real challenge in 2001 when he faced world champion Alex Gong for his I.S.K.A. belt at a K-1 event in Las Vegas. The title went the distance with the young Ludwig being handing his first professional defeat. There was some controversy about the decision as some thought that despite a shaky start Ludwig had shaded it.
In 2002 Duane dropped down in weight to 70 kg to take part in a qualifying tournament for the first ever K-1 MAX world final. He won the four man tournament, defeating no. 1 ranked I.K.F. fighter Ole Laursen in the final to book his place to Tokyo. At the finals Ludwig was drawn against home favorite Masato, and despite his best efforts was unable to make the semi finals, being outclassed by the local fighter over three rounds to lose by unanimous decision. He would get another shot at K-1 MAX glory the following year in Saitama, Japan and went one better, reaching the semi finals where he lost to 2002 K-1 MAX champion Albert Kraus. In 2004 he won his last Muay Thai title where he finally got his hands on the a world title, defeating Thai Mongkhon Wiwasuk by decision after five rounds to win the I.S.K.A. world title, something Ludwig considers one of his proudest ever moments. The title fight was also notable as the belt had previously been held by Alex Gong – a rematch between him and Ludwig had been on the card since their bout in 2001 but Gong sadly passed away in 2003. After this victory Duane would become increasingly involved in MMA at the expense of his kickboxing career, although he would have a number of K-1 fights up until 2006, finishing with a 4-7-1 record with the organization.
Mixed martial arts career
Duane started practicing Muay Thai when he was 15 years old. Ludwig was trained by Bas Rutten during his early career.
Ludwig holds the unofficial UFC knockout record at four seconds, over Jonathan Goulet, though a timing error by a Nevada State Athletic Commission official leaves the official record at 11 seconds.
On December 17, it was announced that Ludwig was set to return to the UFC at UFC 108, facing Jim Miller, replacing an injured Sean Sherk. He lost to Jim Miller via armbar in the first round.
Ludwig was scheduled to face Spencer Fisher on March 21, 2010 at UFC LIVE: Vera vs. Jones, but Fisher was forced off the card with an injury. Ludwig instead faced UFC newcomer Darren Elkins. Ludwig lost via TKO after he suffered a serious ankle injury during the first round.
Ludwig moved up to the Welterweight Division to face Nick Osipczak on November 13, 2010 at UFC 122. The fight was supposed to be on the preliminary part of the fight card, but a last minute illness to main card fighter Alessio Sakara moved the bout to the main card, where Ludwig defeated Osipczak via split decision. Ludwig scored with strikes, including repeated grazing headkicks in the first until Osipczak landed a combination, buckling the veteran. The round ended with Osipczak landing ground and pound from the top, bloodying Ludwig. The second round was intersperesed with mixed striking exchanges and takedown attempts. The third round saw Ludwig land a big left early on and basically stalk Osipczak the rest of the round, scoring but failing to finish as Osipczak seemingly was out on his feet, walking away from exchanges and covering up.The bout was Ludwig’s first since an eight-month recovery from a severe leg injury.
Duane and his wife, Jessica, have one daughter. The couple had their second child, a son named Duane Jr., on November 9, 2010.
Championships and accomplishments
Professional American and Thai Kickboxing
- 2004 I.S.K.A. Muay Thai Light Middleweight world champion -72.5 kg
- 2002 K-1 World MAX USA champion -70 kg
- 2001 I.M.T.C. Muay Thai Super Middleweight North American champion -76 kg
- 2000 W.K.A. Muay Thai Super Middleweight USA title -76 kg
Amateur American and Thai Kickboxing
- 1999 I.K.F. Fighter of the Year
- 1999 I.K.F. Muay Thai light middleweight U.S amateur tournament champion -72.5 kg
- 1999 I.K.F. Muay Thai super middleweight U.S amateur champion -78 kg
- 1999 I.K.F. Regional Middleweight Muay Thai Champion
- 2003 U.C.C. World Lightweight champion -70 kg
- 2000 Extreme Shoot Fighting Lightweight Champion -70 kg