Ryan Bader has had an impressive combat sports career and now he’s just added one more achievement to an ever-growing list as he was promoted to black belt in BJJ. He has wrestled since an incredibly young age and had a strong amateur career in the sport, resulting in him winning three Pac-10 championships and becoming a two-time NCAA Division I All-American. When he decided to make the jump to MMA, he used his phenomenal wrestling to dominate on the ground and rack up a perfect 7-0 record before he was given the opportunity to compete in The Ultimate Fighter.
He went on to win The Ultimate Fighter 8 and continued his dominance throughout his first four UFC fights until he ran into the other highly-touted prospect in the Light-Heavyweight division, a young Jon Jones. His loss to Jones started the toughest stretch of his career where he went 3-4 across seven fights before righting the ship and rattling off five consecutive victories against top opposition. He was still within touching distance of a title-shot and won his next two fights, but chose to leave the UFC for Bellator instead of attempting to work his way up to then-champion Daniel Cormier.
Bader found his career revitalized at Bellator where he won the promotion’s Light-Heavyweight title in his very first fight. Shortly after his first title-defense he then ran through the Bellator Heavyweight grand prix and was crowned champion in a second division after just five fights in the Bellator cage. Although he lost his Light-Heavyweight title to Vadim Nemkov, he’s currently in the middle of fighting his way through the a grand prix that will see him get an opportunity to recover that belt should he win his next fight.
He’s even started to compete in Jiu-Jitsu events, recently mounting an unsuccessful challenge to Mason Fowler for the Submission Underground absolute championship. At the age of 38, he still has plenty of time to advance his combat sports career and cement his place among one of the greatest competitors of all time. Ryan Bader announced the news of his promotion to BJJ black belt by Team Kimura founder, Jair Lourenco Gurgel, in a post to his official Instagram account: