Kevin Belingon is a BJJ champion! The 36 year old has already won the ONE Championship bantamweight title and the URCC bantamweight title, not a bad haul for one career.
Belingon is still looking to add more accolades and succeeded in winning two gold medals at the ASJJF DUMAU Manila Open Jiu-Jitsu Championship last weekend. Despite having been a full time mixed martial artist since 2007 he is still a blue belt.
There can’t be many blue belts who have been five rounds with Bibiano Fernandes in an MMA fight. It seems Belingon has got into BJJ relatively late in life but the Filipino was clearly delighted with his gold medal haul,
“In my wildest dreams, I never envisioned being in this moment. Yet, here I stand before you, clutching two gold medals in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu as a blue belt. It took me 16 years to earn this blue belt, and the Lord blessed me on my first try in this rank to stand atop the podium.”
He also gives a shout out to Gibran Langbayan. The Filipino is a BJJ black belt and a coach at the newly founded Lion’s Nation MMA which is now home to Belingon, Eduard Folayang, Joshua Pacio, Honorio Banario and numerous other fighters who were formerly at Team Lakay,
“A special acknowledgment is reserved for Professor Gibran Langbayan, the man who’s responsible for promoting me to this rank. I share this victory with you, as without your guidance, this validation as a blue belt would not have been possible.”
Belingon was only promoted to blue belt in April. He does have three submission wins on his MMA record although the most recent came in 2010 which suggests the ground game is not his strong point.
Belingon did beat BJJ black belt Bibiano Fernandes by decision to win the ONE Championship bantamweight title in 2018. You don’t go the distance with a grappler of that calibre unless you are extremely competent on the ground.
After years of training exclusively for MMA he appears to have embraced the gi game. It is still not entirely clear why so many fighters left Team Lakay but there is some suggestion that they wanted to improve their grappling skills.
Belingon has clearly been doing that. It is five years since he last won an MMA fight but the Filipino will be hoping to get another chance to display his new found grappling skills in a ONE Championship fight.