20 days before his UFC bout with Vitor Belfort, UFC middleweight champion Chris Weidman was promoted to BJJ black belt by Renzo Gracie and Matt Serra. He has been training BJJ since 2008.
A standout in college, he earned All-American wrestling honors twice at Nassau Community College before transferring to Hofstra. He became the first junior college wrestler in history to be a NYS Collegiate Champion. At Hofstra, he became a two-time Division I All-American, placing 3rd at the NCAA tournament his senior year. Weidman graduated from Hofstra University with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.
Weidman met Gabriel “Monsta” Toribio while attending Hofstra who invited Weidman to come to Matt and Nick Serra’s BJJ Academy to help some of the fighters with their wrestling. Weidman also took some jiu-jitsu classes and within three months he competed in and won The East Coast Grappler’s Quest in his weight class and the Absolute Division with all 13 matches ending in submissions.
With full-time assistant coaching and graduate school at Hofstra, jiu-jitsu had to be put on hold for a while. While coaching, Weidman trained for the Olympic trials. When his dream was not attained, Weidman had to decide if he wanted to continue training for the world teams and Olympics or give MMA a shot. Toribio brought Weidman to Ray Longo’s MMA Academy and introduced Weidman to Longo. With his noticeable technique and skills, Weidman was encouraged to train full-time to fight.
“For such a novice fighter to be so aggressive and technical in a pure grappling competition against one of the world’s best speaks volumes to what a great MMA middleweight Chris Weidman may become.”
—Jordan Breen on Chris Weidman at ADCC 2009
After winning the ADCC East Coast Trials, Weidman qualified for and competed at the 2009 ADCC Submission Wrestling World Championship (with 1 year of formal Jiu-Jitsu training) in Barcelona where he lost a quarter-final match-up to world renowned Jiu-Jitsu practitioner André Galvão.
“Chris is so tough right now. His Jiu-Jitsu is beautiful”.
Watch Weidman vs Galvao in ADCC 2009: