Mixed martial arts was born from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, but even a glance at the list of UFC champions reveals that there is not even a single belt holder who fights with a BJJ base.
Heavyweight Stipe Miocic • White
Light Heavyweight Daniel Cormier • Brown
Middleweight Michael Bisping • Brown
Welterweight Tyron Woodley • Brown
Lightweight Conor McGregor • Brown
Featherweight Jose Aldo • Black
Featherweight (interim) Max Holloway • Purple
Bantamweight Cody Garbrandt • White
Flyweight Demetrious Johnson • White
Women’s Featherweight Germaine de Randamie • White
Women’s Bantamweight Amanda Nunes • Black
Women’s Strawweight Joanna Jedrzejczyk • White
The only BJJ black belts in the group are Aldo and Nunes, each of who tries to keep the fight standing.
During a recent Fan Q&A, Yair Rodriguez was asked about his belt level in BJJ, ahead of his fight with Frankie Edgar on the main card of UFC 211 on Saturday night.
“My ground game is good,” he said, as transcribed by BJJEE. “You guys probably think that my ground game is not good but I train with the best, with black belts. In MMA it doesn’t matter what belt you have. I mean, I’m a white belt and I roll only with black belts. It doesn’t matter if you have a Gi on or a belt.
“This is a different game when you roll with strikes. Whenever you can punch or elbow, it doesn’t matter who you are on the ground. If you can’t take an elbow on your face, it doesn’t matter if you can choke someone.”