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Former UFC champ Robert Whittaker scores jiu-jitsu black belt

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) 185-pound champion Israel Adesanya isn’t the only middleweight celebrating a jiu-jitsu promotion this month, as former division kingpin and No. 1-ranked contender Robert Whittaker has also leveled up.

“Honored to be handed my black belt from my coach and friend Alex Prates,” Whittaker wrote on social media. “Started Gi 16 years ago and I’m stoked to have hit this milestone in my career. Lookout world. If you’re in so much as a long sleeve shirt. Danger.”

Whittaker, 29, has not scored a submission victory since armbarring Corey Nelson roughly nine years back. “The Reaper” was promoted by longtime coach Alex Prates, a third-degree black belt and manager of Gracie Headquarters in Alexandria.

After losing his middleweight title to Israel Adesanya at UFC 243, Whittaker (22-5) bounced back with consecutive victories over Darren Till and Jared Cannonier and stands at 10-1 since moving up from the welterweight division in late 2014.