At UFC 1, a brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt was all in took to win an 8-man tournament of the best martial artists on the planet, well and some overall toughess. A smaller, weaker BJJ black belt named Royce Gracie used his family's art to submit everyone and in doing so revolutionized the world. Gracie Jiu-Jitus is still a fundamental part of mixed martial arts, but with today's athletes getting better and better and being adept at all skills in mixed martial arts, a black belt is not just enough to win.
According to Luke Rockhold, who fights Vitor Belfort this weekend, his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu doesn't even give him the advantage on the ground:
"If it goes to the ground, I think it's my world. I know he's a longtime black belt, but black belts don't mean s--t to me."
Gold belts, however, mean a lot to Rockhold, who makes his UFC debut after a decorated run in Strikeforce, where he was the organization's final 185-pound champion. So far, champs from the now-defunct promotion have yet to capture a UFC title.
When he headlines UFC on FX 8 opposite Belfort, Rockhold thinks the key to being the first is preventing the former UFC titleholder from setting up any offense.
"I definitely want to keep it exciting and high-paced and keep a lot of pressure on Vitor," he said. "I feel like I can beat him anywhere, and I have to employ my range and my kickboxing. I'm not going to just straight box with Vitor. That would be stupid.
"It's really going to refine my skills and perfect my striking and make me be very precise. I expect a different fight for me."
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