As the Brazilian jiu-jitsu community is aware, 10th Planet founder Eddie Bravo promoted UFC Interim Lightweight Champion Tony “El Cucuy” Ferguson to black belt two days ago. In fact, not only did Bravo award Tony a black belt, he awarded him his black belt. Furthermore, not only was it his black belt, it was the black belt Bravo’s instructor, Jean Jacques Machado, gave him off of his waist.
In other words, Tony Ferguson’s black belt has been through at least two generations of instructors. You can read all about it here.
So why did Eddie Bravo give Tony Ferguson his black belt, rather than a black belt?
In his own words, everything just lined up perfectly.
“When I got back from Abu Dhabi in 2003, I was a brown belt, and the first day back to class Jean Jacques gave me the black belt around his waist,” Bravo told the Jiu-Jitsu Times via telephone. “So, I thought everything lined up perfectly for this. I was thinking about giving him his black belt before the fight [Tony’s UFC 216 Lightweight Interim Championship fight against Kevin Lee] you know, but I thought, ‘You know what? Let’s just see how this fight plays out…but um, he’s been ready for his black for a while. It’s been overdue, but this was just the perfect time because, I got back from Brazil off a big triangle win over Royler [Gracie], and then he got back from Vegas with a big triangle win to get the belt, so it was just perfect.”
Everything may have been lined up in Tony’s favor that night, but did Eddie Bravo always think Tony Ferguson would be a future UFC Champion?
“Not at all,” the 10th Planet owner told us. “It’s always when you least expect it. It’s always the people you least expect. I didn’t even know who he was.”
You can listen to the rest of our interview with the legendary Eddie Bravo below: