Does MMA Have Belts?

Many martial arts particularly those that originated in Asia utilize a ranking system where different belt colors represent different ranks. A black belt is often the highest belt and represents mastery in a particular martial art. Who wouldn’t want to earn a black belt and be recognized as an expert in a fighting art. In this article we will look how you go about getting a black belt at if the sport of MMA has belts.

Jiu-Jitsu black belt Royce Gracie kicks at cruiserweight boxer Art Jimmerson during a 1st round match in the Ultimate Fighter Championships in Denver, Colorado. Gracie went on to win the match and eventually the championship. Mandatory Credit: Markus Boes

Does MMA have belts? MMA does not have belts. MMA is a sport consisting of certain rules it is not a particular martial art rather it is a collection of different martial arts. MMA athletes can have belts in the certain martial arts they train. Many MMA fighters have black belts in BJJ but the actual sport of MMA does not have belts.

What Are The Belts In MMA?

What are the belts in MMA? There are no belts in MMA. MMA is made up of a collection of martial arts. Athletes are able to use whatever martial art they choose as long as it is follows the rules. MMA is not a martial art but a competitive sport. This is why there no specific belts in MMA. MMA athletes do often have belts in the particular martial arts they train in.

How Many Belts Are There In MMA?

How many belts are there in MMA? There are zero belts in MMA. MMA is not a martial art. As MMA is not a martial art it does not utilize a belt ranking system. Many MMA athletes train in BJJ which has 8 different adult belts from white to red.

How Long Does It Take To Get A Black Belt In MMA?

How long does it take to get a black belt in MMA? It takes a lifetime to get a black belt in MMA because they do not exist. You can not receive a black belt in MMA because it is not a martial art and has no formal belt ranking system. The closest thing to a black belt in MMA is a BJJ black belt which takes on average 10 years.

Do All Martial Arts Have Belts?

Do all martial arts have belts? No, many martial arts do not have belts. Typically only Asian martial arts have belts. Western martial arts such as wrestling and boxing do not have belts whereas Asian martial arts such as Karate, Kung Fu and Judo do.

Martial arts belts were invented by Jigoro Kano who founded Judo in the 1880s. The belts were used to signify rank, skill and experience. After the success of Judo and Kano’s use of belts other primarily Asian martial arts begun adopting belts such as Karate and Taekwondo.

Western martial arts never adopted Kano’s belt grading system. Western martial arts relied on sport and competition to determine who was proficient in martial arts. For example in boxing a regional champion was superior to a local champion and both were inferior to a world champion. Interestingly, now that all semi-serious Judokas are black belts, Judo relies on competition results to determine proficiency among practitioners and belts have lost value and are largely ceremonial.

What Is The Highest Belt In Martial Arts?

What is the highest belt in martial arts? In most martial arts the highest belt is a black belt. However, in Judo and BJJ the highest belt is a red belt however the belt is largely ceremonial and reserved for lifetime practitioners who made a huge impact on the sport. In many martial arts such as boxing and wrestling there are no belts.

How Do Martial Arts Belts Work?

How do martial arts belts work? The way martial arts belts work depends on the particular martial art. Typically belts are awarded by coaches after student’s have made progress and trained consistently. The higher the belt the more proficient the student is. Some martial arts require students to take formalized tests. In Judo belts can be awarded for winning a certain number of matches.

Martial arts belts are a system of ranking. Belts represent skill and knowledge. They allow students and coaches to gauge a practitioner’s skill and experience. This can dictate how hard they practice with a particular student and the techniques they teach them. For example if a black belt Judoka is sparring with a white belt they will take it easy and avoid throwing the white belt too hard.

How you earn different martial arts belts depends on the martial art. In BJJ a coach will typically promote students based on watching them train and sparring against them. In Judo an athlete will often need to take a test which has a written portion and a practical technical demonstration to earn a belt. In Judo an athlete can also earn a black belt by defeating a number of opponent’s via ippon in the same tournament. This process is known as Batsugun.

The way martial arts belts work is pretty simple. If you train consistently, listen to your coach and try your best you will continually improve and develop as a martial artist. As you develop your coach will recognize your improvement and promote you to the belt which is most indicative of your skill. If you continue this process for years you will eventually earn your black belt.

Is There A Belt Above Black?

Is there a belt above black? In some martial arts there is a belt above black. For example in Judo and BJJ the highest belt is a red belt. In Judo a red/white belt is also above black. In BJJ both a red/black and red/white belt is awarded to athletes after black belt.

Do Black Belts Expire?

Do black belts expire? No, black belts do not expire. When a martial artist is awarded a black belt it is for life. If a martial artist stops training for a considerable time they may lose their expert black belt ability but they will remain a black belt irrespective if their skill atrophies as they age or stop training.

Certain martial artists have argued that if a black belt no longer has the skill representative then they should be stripped of their rank. By that logic it would be mean once a martial artist can not perform up to an arbitrary standard they are stripped of their rank.

However, this argument is flawed because you can not receive a black belt solely based on your skill, as knowledge and accomplishments are also factored in. Also this would mean you would be removing black belts from all elderly black belts no matter their accomplishments. I would like someone try to strip a former Olympic gold medalist of their Judo or Taekwondo belt.

Different people are held to different standards. For example a 40 year old starts training Judo and then after training hard for 5 years he receives his black belt. Should he never have received his black belt because there are 16 year olds who have been training Judo since they are children who would throw him effortlessly? No, you have to hold different people to different standards.

Fortunately, black belts are awarded for life. Most people realize that a 70 year old black belt is not going to have same physical prowess he did as a 25 year old but that does not mean he still doesn’t have an amazing amount of knowledge and experience to offer the sport. A black belt is an award for dedicating a huge amount of time to becoming an expert in a martial art and that achievement will be yours forever.

What Is The Hardest Black Belt To Get?

What is the hardest black belt to get? The hardest black belt to get is a BJJ black belt. On average it takes 10 years to receive a BJJ black belt. In many other martial arts black belt can be achieved in 1-2 years. Black belts in notoriously tough martial arts such Kyokushin Karate and Judo can be earned in half the time (4-5 years) it takes to get a BJJ black belt.

BJJ is consistently touted as the hardest black belt to receive because it typically takes longer than other martial arts. However, the hardest black belt to get depends on the individual. If you hate kicking, are not flexible at all and have a very hard time learning kicking techniques then it is going to be extremely hard for you to earn a black belt in Taekwondo. If instead you love wrestling, grappling and throwing people through the air then achieving a Judo black belt is going to be pretty easy for you.


Even though MMA may not have belts many of the martial arts that MMA fighters train in do have belts. A number of MMA fighters are black belts in a range of different martial arts such as Karate, BJJ, Judo and Taekwondo. If you want to get a black belt in MMA then your best bet is getting a black belt in the martial art that all MMA fighters train in…….BJJ. However be prepared to be dedicated as it can take up to 10 years to earn your black belt.

Recent Content