Daniel Cormier Went From White Belt Straight to Brown Belt in BJJ

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.

8 thoughts on “Daniel Cormier Went From White Belt Straight to Brown Belt in BJJ

  • August 14, 2019 at 5:49 pm
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    I’m a legit purple belt and I’m pretty confident D.C. would smash me. I’d say it’s fair.

  • August 14, 2019 at 6:30 pm
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    No he skipped alot of belts why? Because he is a UFC Heavyweight Champion thats why. He is a tuff competitor no doubt at all. The best pound for pound fighter? I think not. When he is 0-2 against Light Heavyweight Champion Jon “Bones” Jones.DC is one tuff dude I will give him that…

    • August 14, 2019 at 8:29 pm
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      They have level’s for a reason just because he is the heavy weight champ, 4th in the Olympics , captain of the team and so forth don’t mean shit you got to work your way up the ladder not skip them ….he is good but ain’t even close at being the GOAT at any weight…..

  • August 14, 2019 at 10:29 pm
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    There is levels to this. Even if you reach black belt, you still wouldn’t have reached DC’s level. everyone including your teacher would still bet on DC to submit you. Even a 3rd degree black belt like Anderson Silva could not submit him when they fought at a catch weight. That’s why DC gets to skip belts.

  • August 15, 2019 at 12:14 pm
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    I guess if we look at it from a 10th planet standpoint, they are no-gi focused and probably also wouldn’t do well with GI open guards. But I still think he should’ve went up the ranks like the rest of us.. at least a year or so in each belt.

    • August 15, 2019 at 9:39 pm
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      He got belted by a qualified instructor who evaluated his level of Jiu Jitsu. Many other martial arts and wrestling have techniques or similar techniques shared with Jiu Jitsu. If his instructor felt he was a brown belt then he was belted correctly. What the hell does getting belted have to do with knowing how to score a Jiu Jitsu fight? If anyone wants to question his belt just roll with him ????.

      • August 16, 2019 at 3:53 am
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        Unless he starts competing in jiu jitsu world tournaments & beating champs no. I’m a huge “problem” at my school as a white belt but I also know other disciplines so if I submit my instructor I get a black belt? I’m a combat Army Ranger Veteran. So the fuck what! I wouldn’t want to disrespect the art or myself. Wouldn’t even except it.

  • August 16, 2019 at 3:41 am
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    I am sure his top game is top notch, but his guard game only had 2 years to mature.

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