Tony Ferguson got a lovely surprise from his instructor 2 years ago– he was awarded his 10th planet black belt.
In the past Ferguson has been quoted saying he’s more interested in the coveted brazilian jiu jitsu ranking than in the UFC title:
“I’m more interested in receiving my black belt from Eddie Bravo’s 10th Planet jiu-jitsu system than the UFC belt right now. The [UFC] belt is tarnished, man. I feel like the belt has been in so many different hands, it’s so polluted. It needs to be recycled by the time I get there.”
“I think everybody wants me to get the title, but for me, I don’t do what everybody else wants me to do. I’m a leader, not a follower, man. I’m a super fighter. I create super fights. The people who actually give me the righteous fights are the ones who are going to be the best for me, give or take whether it’s a title fight. I really don’t give a [expletive]. I really don’t.”
And now his wait is finally over as Bravo has awarded him the ranking. Bravo writes:
The day I got back to Jean Jacques Academy after 2003 ADCC, he gave me the black belt off his waist. Tonight I gave it to @tonyfergusonxt
Bravo told the Jiu-Jitsu Times why he gave him his very own black belt, which he himself received from Jean Jacques Machado:
“When I got back from Abu Dhabi in 2003, I was a brown belt, and the first day back to class Jean Jacques gave me the black belt around his waist. So, I thought everything lined up perfectly for this. I was thinking about giving him his black belt before the fight [Tony’s UFC 216 Lightweight Interim Championship fight against Kevin Lee] you know, but I thought, ‘You know what? Let’s just see how this fight plays out…but um, he’s been ready for his black for a while. It’s been overdue, but this was just the perfect time because, I got back from Brazil off a big triangle win over Royler [Gracie], and then he got back from Vegas with a big triangle win to get the belt, so it was just perfect.”