Nikki Naptime Sullivan
Contrasting to her nickname, Nikki Naptime Sullivan is not one to fall asleep on. This up-and-coming brown belt is known for her aggressive, submission-oriented guard harmonized with her love for coffee. You may recognize Sullivan from her recent standout performance at the ADCC Trials and her win at Fight to Win Pro 32! However more than winning any tournament, she is a strong advocate for the growth of women’s Jiu Jitsu and positively affecting the community. An adoring nanny by day and a fearsome athlete by night,
let’s meet the BJJ TEES sponsored athlete, 2016 No-Gi Pan American Champ, and accomplished backrub giver Nikki Sullivan!
I saw you got your brown belt a couple weeks ago! Congrats! How long have you been training and what got you into the sport?
Thank you! I’ve been training for about 7 1/2 years. I actually started training my senior year in college, at Indiana University. I had an extra credit I wanted to fill and they offered a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu class, taught by Mister Evan Mannweiler. I was torn between BJJ and Ballroom Dancing. My lack of dance skills are proof of the choice I made. I fell in love on day one, from my first rear-naked choke. I was so excited about Jiu-Jitsu. I remember practicing hip tosses on one of my classmates out in the quad. I am such a dork. I got involved in the university club, and my journey took off from there.
What are some of your biggest accomplishments?
Starting a women’s program and hosting the first women’s open mat in Indiana. Going to Abu Dhabi to compete. That time I cryangled James Mogollon. Getting first loser at Trials.
Where do you currently train?
Nice Guy Submission Fighting in Owensboro, KY.
You recently won your F2W Pro Fight (congrats) and took second at the ADCC trials (congrats once again)! What is your utmost goal within the sport?
Oh, stop it! Obviously, as a competitor, it is my goal to win the Worlds. I would love to be able to make it to the ADCC someday. Ultimately though, I just want to make a positive impact with what I’m doing. The highest compliments I have ever received were from parents who told me they watch me compete with their daughters, who look up to me as a role model. That’s why I do this, and it makes everything worth it. I believe that God gives me my abilities and with everything I do, I try to do it with all my heart for him. I love teaching, and would love to be able to teach and train full-time someday. I want to make my Jiu-Jitsu as beautiful as possible. Also, I aspire to one day have a highlight reel made by the infamous “Gucci Exclusive”! Then I can die happy.
What does a typical day look like for you? How many hours do you train, how many cups of coffee are consumed, etc…
ALL THE COFFEE! COFFEE TO WIN! COFFEE IS THE LIFEBLOOD THAT RUNS THROUGH MY… ummm sorry, got distracted. *takes sip of coffee* I’m an education major. I’ve worked various teaching jobs in the past, and currently work as a nanny. I roll out of bed around 6:45, go to work at 7:30, hang out with the coolest little two-year-old ever all day, get done at 3:30, go let the dog out, then drive 45 minutes to training. We train about 2 hours every evening. I get home around 9, shower, eat, sleep, then repeat. I get all the scheduled school breaks since my boss is a teacher, so whenever I’m on a break I go crazy training as much as I can, and then my body usually hates me. I am so pumped for Summer…
What do you like to do outside of Jiu Jitsu? Any secret talents besides being crazy flexible and a submission monster?
I give really good backrubs. I like to play guitar and sing to relax. I dabble in the visual arts. I enjoy coffee, cuddles, and talking mad trash to people who can beat me up.
You write a lot of articles for other athletes, including myself, and every article you write has such heart in it. Where is this passion of writing derived from? Also, you have superb grammar; I respect that immensely.
The article writing is a new thing for me, and I’ve really been enjoying it! This is the first time I’ve written since college, and it’s so much more fun when you’re not being graded. I love it. I don’t have to follow any rules. I can have fun with my writing and keep it playful. Take that, APA! It helps that I have such amazing subject matter in the athletes I’m interviewing. They have such vibrant personalities, which makes writing about them a breeze. I’m passionate about Jiu-Jitsu, so covering it is easy. And I have amazing editors. I have some bigger articles coming out soon and I’m really excited for those. Stay tuned!
Who inspires you?
The kids and the white belts. They’re experiencing it all for the first time and they’re always so excited to train. It reminds me how awesome Jiu-Jitsu is.
Do you have a nickname? If so, where did it originate from?
I worked in a preschool for a couple years. My boss nicknamed me “Nikki Naptime“, because I was really good at getting the kids to sleep, and of course, the Jiu-Jitsu. My co-teachers got a kick out of it.
Anything else you want to tell us about yourself?
Be the hardest worker in the room, and the last one to leave the mats. Dance like nobody’s watching. Don’t take yourself too seriously. Never stop training. Just roll.