Daniel Cormier is a phenomenal grappler. His wrestling credentials speak for themselves and he has showcased his submission skills in UFC title fights. Interestingly, unlike a lot of MMA fighters, DC embraced the gi early in his BJJ journey and it surprised many (including DC, who was hoping for a blue belt) when he was awarded his brown belt by Checkmat’s Leo Vieira back in 2013.
Vieira was adamant of Cormier’s ability and in an interview with Tatame magazine went on to explain why he gave the wrestler a brown belt straight away:
“Daniel has an enviable track record in wrestling, which facilitated his evolution in Jiu-Jitsu. Few know his career, but the guy was fourth in the Olympics in Athens, he was captain of the U.S. team wrestling in Beijing, and has medaled twice at the Pan In my view, analyzing his daily practice for two years, the Brown belt was the most suitable for the technical level of Cormier.”
Is Cormier adept in spider guard? Probably not, is his lapel guard amazing? that’s doubtful. To me there is a lot of cross over between wrestling and BJJ and Cormier no doubt picked up the basics of BJJ with ease. His top game was likely immense from day one and I am sure within a year of training in the gi that he was at the level of any hobbyist brown belt in the nation, so I’m inclined to agree with Leo Vieira.
Not everyone agreed with Vieira however with Urijah Faber’s grappling coach sounding off on the Checkmat coach:
“Some Checkmat guys are giving belts too quickly,” he said. “If you ask those guys, Cormier won’t know how to score a jiu-jitsu fight. How are you going to promote a guy this way?
“I think it’s a shame you promote a guy to black belt and he doesn’t even know the rules. I’m pissed off with that. I don’t know if the coaches just want to be seen. Here in the U.S., there are a lot of guys promoting students via internet. I can’t understand it.”
Do you think it was right to promote Cormier straight to brown? Sound off in the comments below.