Urijah Faber may use his grappling skills to become the UFC bantamweight champion this Saturday, when he faces Renan Barao at UFC 169 in Newark, N.J. But even if he submits the bantamweight kingpin, "The California Kid" won’t receive the black belt in jiu-jitsu.
Faber was awarded the purple belt in jiu-jitsu in 2010, and quickly turned to a brown belt a year later. Finishing a black belt like Barao would be impressive, but he needs more than that to get a black belt from Fabio Prado, his jiu-jitsu coach at Team Alpha Male.
"No, no way," Prado told MMAFighting.com when asked if Faber will be promoted to black belt if he taps Barao on Saturday night -- that would mean four submission victories in five UFC bouts in less than 12 months.
"We need to adjust some details with the gi. He needs to train with the gi, and he hasn’t doing that much lately because he fought a lot last year. But when he returns to train with the gi he’ll receive the black belt, he knows that."
Prado has taught in the United States for eight years, but hasn’t graduated a single student to black belt yet. And he’s not in a hurry.
"Some guys here that teach for four years and have a lot of black belts," he said.
"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."
Impressive wins in MMA are not important for Prado. He’s happy with Joseph Benavidez’s improvements in the grappling area, but he won’t receive a belt for that.
"Benavidez is a white belt in jiu-jitsu, and he has defeated five black belts in jiu-jitsu: Wagnney Fabiano, Rani Yahya, Jeff Curran, Miguel Torres and Jussier Formiga," he said. "But if you ask him what’s a lapel choke, he won’t know. And you ask me why he’s still a white belt.
"To receive the black belt, you need to know the positions, the origin of the fight, how to do the proper grip at the lapel, hip escaping. There’s no reason to promote Faber to black belt if he can’t teach you a loop choke. That’s the reality of jiu-jitsu. Whenever he has the opportunity he puts on the gi and trains. That’s important."