Jackson’s Introduces an MMA Belt Ranking System

April 17, 2012
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Greg JacksonEverybody in the martial arts world has heard of a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, a black belt in Judo, a black belt in karate, and on down the line of traditional martial arts.

But with mixed martial arts becoming one of the most popular sports on a worldwide level, what about a belt system for those that simply do MMA?

Well, the team at Jackson’s MMA has introduced a new belt system specifically gauged around MMA training, with a belt levels ranging all the way from white belt to black belt, all under the instruction of head trainer Greg Jackson.

“It took us a long time to develop it. It basically takes everything from his books and in the gym into one system, and basically Greg wrote the new curriculum, so there’s actually a legitimate MMA belt system. We’re already testing on it at Jackson’s Martial Arts and Fitness Academy, and it’s working beautifully,” said Ricky Kottenstette, gym manager at Jackson’s in Albuquerque, N.M.

For years, Jackson had his own hybrid style of martial arts he dubbed Gaidojutsu that he taught to his fighters.

Now with Century MMA on board as a partner, Jackson has a new belt system specifically geared towards MMA. The system will work no differently than a belt graduation and acceleration program for any other martial art.

The Jackson’s MMA belts will be taught in all of the New Mexico based gyms, but it’s not only for fighters, it also applies to any students simply looking to learn mixed martial arts for fun or sport.

“This is Greg Jackson’s belt. I mean his style has his own deal, he had his own name for it, but we just kind of switched it to Jackson’s MMA,” said Kottenstette. “This is a Jackson’s MMA belt. You have jiu-jitsu, judo, and all the other forms, but Greg’s system is very effective and this is just sort of the premier testing platform for a belt system, that has guidelines all the way to the top, all the way to black belts.”

Prior to this new belt system being introduced, many of Jackson’s top students had earned black belt honors. Keith Jardine, Joey Villasenor, Georges St-Pierre, and new head instructor at the recently opened second Jackson’s academy, John Dodson, lead the way.

The key to this new system is that it allows not only fighters, but anybody that’s interested in learning the Jackson’s MMA system, whether you intend on ever actually stepping foot in a cage or not.

“You don’t have to get into the UFC Octagon to prove it and be a contender like most of the other guys did growing up,” Kottestette stated. “This is our opportunity to help people learn all of Greg’s system and learn his techniques, and he does the actual belt testing. So when student’s test, they test with Greg Jackson; so he does all the belt graduations.”

The Jackson’s MMA belts are already being taught in the different academies in New Mexico, with a new gym currently in the planning stages as well.

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  • matty

    Why not?

  • maddawgmar

    That was the best thing about MMA, there is no official belt system. People train for love of sport and fitness, not belts. That is also why I like Muay Thai no belts. Belt measure the knowlege not necessarily the talent. That’s why you see brown belts submit black belts in the octagon. I think MMA needs to stay the same and rely on world rankings not belts.

    • there is grading in Muay Thai though…

      • Not there isn’t.

        I’m assuming you have never trained Muay Thai.

        There is no grade or “belt” system in Muay Thai.

        Go to Thailand and say you’re “xyz” grade/belt. You’ll get laughed at.

  • jesseyrock

    Um, ya….Jardine has a black belt in this system? Enough said. System is no good.

    • macgrubber

      ya if jardine can get a black belt i dont see how hard getting a black belt can possibly be. And gsp has one. How can gsp and jardine have the same belt. One gets booted from ufc and goes on a losing streak other guy is one of the best p4p fighters in the world. So it cant be ranked on skill but maybe how long youve been training for? But who cares if youve been training for 10 years get a black belt and still suck. Now your just a bad fighter who can brag about having a black belt. So basically belts mean nothing. Dumb system.

  • hollafront1314

    jackson just wanna get his name out there again..hes a media whore..the system is fine the way it is and its actually better the way it is..it measures you strengths and weaknesses..with this system you can only tell if they’re well rounded all not..

    • Lesnardo

      I agree.

      Look, anybody can come up with a belt system for anything.

      And also, what happens when a well-rounded MMA fighter gets KTFO silly by a one-dimensional striker?

  • MMALibrary

    Jackson’s is such a whore of a camp. I bet you can’t get your Greg Jackson’s black belt unless you shoot for a td in the last 10 seconds of every round. That’s the only criteria

  • mmaen

    I don’t like it…I think MMA shouldn’t be constrained by belts? Belts don’t and will not do justice, the more freeform the better, let people figure themselves out. Also these MMA belts can be awarded to anyone who doesn’t ever step into the cage? that’s not cool…

  • Iamrozylo

    Belts are a money maker in any system. I lost interest in them when I was a green belt and schooled a black belt.

    • bjjjay

      In what martial art though?

      • Lesnardo

        He is talking about when he was 23 years old green belt he schooled a 14 years old black belt in Tae Kwon Do.

  • you know, fairplay to Jackson sorting this out…the man is making money and patenting his own thing. But belting is just arbitrary in my view, and its just that….he’s doing this for his own acclaim!!! But in the end….fairplay! man’s doing it!!!

    • rsnowbass

      Very smart on the business side of things for sure. Haters gonna hate (I don’t really care too much for the guy) but it’s a very ripe time to rake in the dough putting the right pieces into place with the business he’s in. Securing that financial future for sure.


    • rsnowbass

      Spare me…

    • joemartinez

      wrong wrong ufc needs that kind of stuff u dnt know crap about fighting

    • You idiot. MMA is a sport not a joke, and the best fighters currently in the world compete in it.

      Name one single fighter who is any good at all who fights “pankration” or whatever ?

  • JBroce

    I’ve always thought of belts as head knowledge. Not a ranking for in competition. A black belt should be able to teach other proper technique, and perform them. But it doesnt mean theyre the best on the planet in performing those techniques against others. I mean eventually everyone gets old, it’s not like someome should lose their blackbelt because of that should they? thats what alot of you are saying. And I come from a wrestling background, transitioning into jiu-jitsu so I have an outside perspective on this. Jiu-jitsu is admittedly more perfomance based than most martial arts, so I can see why alot of people who train in that have a problem with the MMA belt. But just think about it a little more before using kieth Jardines cage perfomances to decide if this is a good idea or not. Could he be a great teacher of MMA? i would guess so. I bet he knows alot of techniques for all areas too.

    • macgrubber

      How can you talk about a black belt having proper technique and kieth jardine in the same paragraph. You are obviously a wrestler and have never did any kind of standup before or are extremely trash at it. If you think jardine should be able teach standup to people then please go learn from him im sure youll be pro.

  • TKDGuy

    I don’t think this is a good idea for MMA – I happen to be a black belt in taekwondo, but I thought mma was supposed to be fusion of different traditional martial arts styles to see fighters of different backgrounds match up. MMA is not a traditional martial art and I don’t think adding a belt system adds anything to it.

  • joemartinez

    I say he should be a fighter himself, he would do some damage in the ufc

  • sb

    Ugh! Okay so everyone gets a trophy. So can you have a black belt in MMA but not a blackbelt in BJJ or Judo or whatever??

    Not getting it other than ,as others have said, its profit and no substance. People who truly train in MMA and take it seriously don’t give 2 shits about belts. I can guarantee that if you get a blackbelt in MMA from Jacksons and you tell someone else that is at your level that you have a blackbelt in MMA they will spit their beer out of their nose. Its like saying I train UFC!

    Good luck with that! LMAOF!!

  • butternut

    Although I agree with belts being utilised to make money this may be a good thing in the long run for amatuer mma…

    Think about it, instead of a, b and c class amatuer mma events where the promoters have no real idea of what level guys are at the could just match up guys based on rank like in bjj…

    That way if I’m a blue belt in mma under whoever I can face another blue belt in mma from another gym..

    That would theoretically make the matchup fairer and give gyms and coaches a better understanding as to where their students are at which would hopefully push the level of competition to a higher level…

    Just an idea..

    • ian

      There’s quite a lot of schools in the uk that belt rank mma. The school im at they Teach bits of wrestling, bjj, wrestling, boxing, karate an self defence all in one curriculum. Actual sparring is semi contact stand up fighting continuous and point stop. There’s also progressive sparring which involves take downs an stuff. Competitions you’ll get semi contact continuous and point stop, full contact continuous, forms, creative forms and weapon forms. I’m sick of hearing people slating mma schools that have a belt system, if they don’t want to grade in mma don’t go to school that has that type of system in place . Learning mixed martial arts doesn’t always have to end up with cage fighting. I know I don’t wanna get my face smashed in in a cage lol. My school also trains bjj separately. Obviously if you want to learn bjj to its full potential that’s all you focus on in a session.

  • butternut

    Sorry meant to say I agree that belts are being utilised by mcdojo’s as money makers (and i agree that it should be stopped)…

  • There is just too much of a diversity in styles within MMA for this to make any sense.

  • If Jackson wants to do this within his own school, I would say that is his business. If he’s trying to do it across the sport, I’d then say that he needs to check himself, and his ego at the door of his school.

    Jackson has made it ON THE BACKS of his fighters. I’m no fan of his guys, but they’ve earned the titles and respect that they have. That said, none of them are particularly spectacular from a technical stand point; so I feel to see how an “MMA ranking system” via Jackson is worth anything.

    Look at teams like Black House, BTT, ATT, etc; those are teams with long histories, and massive technical credentials. Credentials and skill sets that Jackson cannot come close to being on par with.

  • johnwaynebjj2

    do you guys forget jardine fought in the ufc which has the highest level of mma in the world everybody who has had the privledge of fighting on that stage should be a blackbelt in mma if the system does truly come around.

  • Joe

    Look, a grading or belt system is simply designed to help teach the class. Not point trying to teach a “white” belt (beginner) a flying armbar or a 5 part striking combo! White belts go over there and work on a forward roles and how to move while keeping your hands up. It’s just a curriculum to organize their training into lessons and to grade the students to see/prove how they are doing… nothing more.

    Just like a driving/shooting/etc. school has levels so that the instructor can teach the appropriate subject matter. Why is everyone getting so worked up about this?

    His school, his subject matter, his grading system.

  • Brutally Honest

    A belt system for street fighters what a joke.