Aljamain Sterling had a pretty good weekend. He was in Newark, New Jersey for the UFC event at the Prudential Center on Saturday, and on Sunday, it seems he was awarded his black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Sterling has always shown he has a strong ground game throughout his career and he has only gotten better so it should be no surprise that the 30-year-old contender receives the rank of black belt.
His last submission victory was in September of 2018 when he hit the painful-looking Suloev stretch on Cody Stamann at UFC 226. That particular win would earn him many “submission of the year” nominations for 2018, winning it over at MMA Junkie. Sterling playfully called the submission, the “funk strudel” afterward and even posted a full instructional on his YouTube channel.
— FOX Sports: UFC (@UFCONFOX) September 9, 2018
“What a journey it has been to reach this point as a BJJ player,” Sterling said on a social media post announcing his promotion. He added, “I’m so competitive against myself in everything that I do, that words really can’t explain how much receiving a BJJ black-belt from sensei Matt Serra means to me!” He talked about how the art has helped him evolve in his training, letting go of ego, and the continuous learning mindset that comes with attaining the rank in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu.
He closed his social media post with, “THIS IS MY GOLD MEDAL! And I can’t wait for my shot to win a GOLD UFC BELT!!” Sterling is currently riding a four-fight win streak and is ranked number two according to the UFC rankings. He sits just beneath the person that handed him his last loss, Marlon Moraes.
Moraes fought Henry Cejudo for the bantamweight title and lost, so for the new black belt Sterling, he will likely get a chance to avenge that loss, or get the title shot he has been after.
Edward holds a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and Bachelor’s degree in Communications. Along with over 20 years martial arts experience, he co-hosts The Coast-2-Coast Combat Hour, and also writes for Sherdog while maintaining his own site, The Blogboard Jungle. You can follow him on Twitter @Carbazel