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Jon Jones is still a jiu-jitsu white belt, coach refuses to promote him because he's a UFC star

If you want the accolades, you have to put the work in, first.

Esther Lin/MMA Fighting

With four submission victories inside the Octagon -- including his ridiculous standing guillotine choke on Lyoto Machida at UFC 140 three years ago -- it's easy to assume Light Heavyweight champion Jon Jones is a high-ranked Brazilian jiu-jitsu player with the belt color to match.

But, despite his knowledge of the craft of jiu-jitsu, "Bones" is still only a white belt under Robert Tussa. And while it seems that a big name fighter -- especially dominant champions -- usually shoot up to black belt quicker than your average player would, Jones isn't on that path.

And it's not his choice.

Tussa recently informed our Brazilian friends at Tatame that Jones isn't going to have his blue belt handed to him because of who he is and what he's done inside the cage. On the contrary, he is going to have to put more work in on the mat if he wants to move up to blue belt in the future.

He explains:

"Before anything else he needs to learn the principles of jiu jitsu, understand the rules, the philosophy, he has to spend some time. I can't just give him the belt because he's Jon Jones. So, about that classic photo where he's got the white-belt, I said ‘Jon, I'm going to put the white belt on you because you never trained in the gi. You're good as hell, you caught a black-belt in a guillotine and all, but that doesn't make you a black-belt.' So, I want him to put in work. It's a way of forcing him to put on the gi and take some lessons, the same way my other students do. I don't think it's fair to my students who work one or two years to get a blue-belt for Jon — because he's a UFC star — to get the blue belt without knowing the philosophy, without knowing who my master is. That's how I think and he respects that a lot."

Aside from choking out "The Dragon" and dropping him like a bad habit, Jones' jiu-jitsu skills trumped those of another high-level black belt in Vitor Belfort, escaping a serious armbar before submitting "The Phenom" via Americana at UFC 152.

Still, despite the fact that he has proven to be one of the most dominant champions in the history of mixed martial arts (MMA), Jones -- who will next take on Anthony Johnson at UFC 187 on May 23, 2015 in Las Vegas. Nevada -- is going to have to prove to his coach that he deserves to come up in the jiu-jitsu world.


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