Conor McGregor can add one more accolade to his growing list of accomplishments.
This time the former two-division UFC champion was awarded his black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu by longtime head coach John Kavanagh.
“Received my black belt tonight from my coach, friend, and mentor, John Kavanagh of SBG Ireland. 20 years of hard work! Thank you John for everything over the years, and to all of my teammates throughout this incredible jiu jitsu journey! Thank you all so much from the bottom of my heart!
“A Brazilian jiu jitsu black belt, wow! Praise be to God and then Helio [Gracie]. I’ll be in the Gi in it tomorrow Helio, I promise, and I cannot wait!! What a buzz.”
Of course, Kavanagh comes from the lineage of Helio Gracie through a long line of coaches that eventually ended with Matt Thornton handing the Irish coach his own black belt back in 2007. At the time, Kavanagh was the first person to receive a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt in the Republic of Ireland.
Thornton’s Straight Blast Gym (SBG) in Oregon also led to Kavanagh opening his own affiliate school, which has served as McGregor’s primary home for training since before he arrived in the UFC.
McGregor received a number of congratulations on his achievement including a nod from Gordon Ryan, who is widely considered the top grappler in the world across all weight classes.
“Well deserved,” Ryan wrote on Instagram. “Despite what people say, you’re pretty exceptional on the ground, especially with MMA being your main focus.”
McGregor has been training for an eventual return to the UFC where he’s expected to face Michael Chandler in his first fight back in over two years after suffering a broken leg in his previous outing. Right now, McGregor still doesn’t have a fight booked, although it’s looking more and more likely that his comeback will have to wait until some time in 2024.