A pair of MMA Bantamweight veterans, TJ Dillashaw and Juan Archuleta, were both recently promoted to BJJ purple belt by Philipe Della Monica at Gracie Barra Headquarters. Both men have achieved champion status in their respective promotions at different points, with Dillashaw enjoying a pair of title reigns in the UFC’s Bantamweight division, the first being ended by Dominick Cruz and the second being ended by a failed drug test that he is currently halfway through serving a two-year ban for. He managed two title defenses in his first reign and one in his second against Cody Garbrandt, before he dropped down to Flyweight to challenge Henry Cejudo for the belt there instead.
Archuleta on the other hand, only recently earned his Bantamweight title at Bellator after fighting against Patchy Mix for the vacant championship after Kyoji Horiguchi was forced to give up the title due to an injury. This was the second shot that Archuleta was given at a Bellator title after he entered the Featherweight Grand Prix back in 2019 and came up short against the reigning champion Patricio Freire in the first round. Moving up and down in weight is nothing new to Archuleta however as he had a fantastic seven-fight run for King of The Cage that saw him collect titles in the promotion’s Bantamweight, Featherweight, Lightweight, and Light-Welterweight divisions.
It might seem strange for such accomplished MMA champions like TJ Dillashaw and Juan Archuleta to only now be reaching BJJ purple belt, but neither of the men are particularly known for their submission game. Archuleta has only ever won one fight by submission out of twenty-seven and Dillashaw has only recorded three submission wins in his twenty fights, with neither man registering a submission win in the last five years. The pair’s BJJ coach, Philipe Della Monica, announced the news through his official Instagram account: