5 UFC fighters who went from Jiu-Jitsu white belt straight to black belt

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Black belt. The aforementioned term is one that is widely used, often disregarded, and widely misunderstood.  Unfortunately, Americans (primarily) have bastardized the true meaning of this term as well as what it means to obtain such a rank through the practice of awarding “gimmie” belts, i.e. belts awarded primarily based on attendance records and the practitioners monthly check clearing rather than actual skill level, and the watered down criteria of martial arts instructors looking to satisfy students and their parents.

One art that has very rarely, if ever, engaged in this practice is the art of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and therefore, one of the most coveted and highly regarded martial arts ranks that can be obtained is that of the BJJ black belt.  The BJJ ranking system, which consists of white, blue, purple, brown, and black belts, has been explained to me as compared to degrees in the world of academia and is as follows (note: there are always exceptions and this by no means is a standard or guideline):

White belt: High school diploma.  You basically get one for showing up.

Blue belt: Associate’s degree.  This takes approximately 2 years of consistent work.

Purple belt: Bachelor’s degree. This takes approximately 4-5 years and the separation in regards to dedication and achievement begin here.

Brown belt: Master’s degree.  This is a realm of dedication entered by few and will take 5-7 years of continual hard work, dedication, and commitment.

Black belt: A Doctoral degree. The process of achieving this degree takes 8+ years, oftentimes over a decade.  This degree is considered the achievement of a lifetime but as all academics know, this is where the real work begins.

In the list that follows we will look at five martial artists who amazingly were awarded their BJJ black belt having previously held only a white belt ranking.  For those keeping up at home that is akin to a high school graduate never earning an AA, BA, or Master degree yet being awarded a Ph.D.

5) Rashad Evans

Rashad Evans who also made THIS LIST received his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Rolles Gracie Jr. before UFC 108.

Rashad Evans
Rashad Evans

Rolles Gracie Jr. stated that even though Rashad has not trained in a Gi, that he considered him at ‘No Gi black belt level’.

Rashad Evans
Rashad Evans

Next: Josh Barnett