UFC veteran and the 2007 ADCC world champion in the 66kg division, Rani Yahya, was just promoted to fifth degree BJJ black belt after an incredible 19 years as a black belt. He is an incredibly skilled grappler who has been training in various martial arts for practically his entire life. Yahya started out with Judo, Taekwondo, and Karate before he eventually found Jiu-Jitsu at the age of 11. It wasn’t long at all before he started competing at the highest levels of the sport at the relevant belt levels, winning an IBJJF World Championship at blue, purple, and brown belt in 1999, 2002, and 2003 respectively.
At the same time, Yahya was starting out his professional MMA career and he put together an 11-2 professional record over the course of five years to earn a WEC contract. While he was fighting his way through various regional promotions, he was also competing at the highest level of submission grappling. He first competed at ADCC 2003 where he made it to the quarter-finals before being defeated, before returning to win a silver medal at ADCC 2005. He competed one final time in 2007, where he finally emerged victorious in a tough 66kg division and took home the gold medal.
From then on he was a constant fixture at WEC events and even fought for the promotion’s bantamweight title at one point, before moving over to the UFC when the promotions merged. Since that transition, Yahya has been a permanent fixture in both the featherweight and bantamweight divisions. Yahya is a submission-specialist who’s more than capable of surprising anyone at any time, and at the age of 38 he is still beating back interesting prospects to this day.
Rani Yahya announced the news that he had just received the fifth degree on his BJJ black belt in a recent post to his official Instagram account: