Current Bellator MMA Heavyweight Champion Ryan Bader Awarded Black Belt in BJJ

Accomplished MMA fighter Ryan Bader can now add BJJ black belt to his resume. A longtime UFC veteran and current Bellator MMA light heavyweight champion, Bader was awarded his black belt by Nova Uniao black belt Jair Gurgel.

After 15 years I have received my black belt from @jairlourencokimura ! What an honor to receive it from a highly decorated black belt and most importantly a great person and team. 👊🏼 also a ton of help from my man @triboletbeau

Bader was given his black belt alongside training partner and fellow UFC veteran CB Dollaway.

In 2008, Bader won The Ultimate Fighter Season 8, defeating BJJ standout Vinny Magalhaes by first-round knockout in the finals. Over the course of the next xx years, Bader racked up 14 more wins over the course of his career, consistently finding himself among the elite of the light heavyweight division with wins over Quinton “Rampage” Jackson, Rashad Evans, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira. In 2017, Bader signed with Bellator MMA, winning the light heavyweight championship from Phil Davis in his promotional debut. He would lose that title in 2020 to current champion Vadim Nemkov.

In 2018, Bader entered the Bellator heavyweight grand prix, eventually winning that tournament and the title, defeating heavyweight MMA legend Fedor Emelianenko in the finals.

A Division 1 collegiate wrestler and three-time Pac 10 champion for Arizona State University, Bader has shown off dominant wrestling throughout his career. And although he owns just a pair of submission victories over his 34-fight career, Bader has displayed expert top control, pressure, and understanding of positional jiu-jitsu throughout.

Congratulations to Ryan Bader on this accomplishment!

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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