What BJJ belt is Robert Whittaker? All about 'The Reaper's' mixed martial arts background

Robert Whittaker is a well-rounded fighter, but is he a Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt? [Image Courtesy: @UFC_AUSNZ via X/Twitter]

Robert Whittaker will headline the UFC Saudi Arabia card next week, where he takes on one of the promotion's highest-potential Dagestani acquisitions, Ikram Aliskerov. The pair will clash in a middleweight bout with massive implications for both of them.

For Whittaker, a loss to an unranked fighter would be disastrous to his goal of securing a third middleweight title shot. Thus, a win is the only tolerable outcome. Conversely, Aliskerov has everything to gain and little to lose, coming in on short-notice as an unranked fighter against the #3 middleweight in the world.

A win would catapult him into title contention, but how well will his skills stand up to Whittaker's? After all, 'The Reaper' is a multi-faceted fighter.

Robert Whittaker's traditional martial arts background

Robert Whittaker is one of the most skilled 185-pounders on the roster, armed with a dynamic arsenal that combines both karate and boxing. Against most foes, he bounces back-and-forth on the balls of his feet, stutter-stepping into boxing combinations that once led him to UFC middleweight title success.

In terms of his credentials, 'The Reaper' is part of a class of MMA fighters who have several black belts. He is a first-degree black belt in hapkido, a Korean martial art with emphasis on joint-locks and grappling, with powerful kicks and other striking techniques.

More prominently, he is a first-degree black belt in Gōjū-ryū, a style of karate, which is apparent in Whittaker's stance. But what of the Australian's grappling skill-set?

What BJJ belt is Robert Whittaker?

Despite an astonishingly low five submissions in 25 professional career wins, Robert Whittaker is actually a first-degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt under Alex Prates, having earned it in 2020 after 16 years of hard practice. His grappling is largely defensive, and he has only ever been submitted once in his career.

That loss was to Kim Hoon back in the early days of 'The Reaper's' MMA run at Legend FC 6, and marked his first-ever defeat, which made him 7-1 at the time. Whittaker is also an accomplished wrestler. However, as wrestling lacks a belt-ranking system, he is distinguished by national wrestling championship wins.

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Edited by Tejas Rathi
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