Gray Maynard earns Jiu-Jitsu blue belt in Rio

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The blue belt against Frank Edgar / Photo: UFC

The “vacation” in Rio de Janeiro two-time UFC title challenger Gray Maynard is on has panned out to be a tad bit more entertaining than he could have expected.

New Year’s Eve festivities on Copacabana Beach, training with José Aldo in Flamengo, chit-chat with our GMA Vitor “Shaolin” and a spanking new belt with the Nova União seal of approval—the lightweight powerhouse posted about it on Twitter.

Gray, a star of a couple of the finest fights of the year, in his title bids against Frankie Edgar, has been helping José Aldo out with is wrestling in preparing to face Chad Mendes at UFC 142 on the coming 14th. Yesterday, Gray donned a borrowed white gi and, for the proficiency he displayed on the ground, Coach André Pederneiras awarded him his blue belt.

“I did some Gi Jiu-Jitsu training at Nova União. I got my blue belt from André Pederneiras. I’m honored,” he tweeted.

Gray Maynard fought Frankie Edgar for the UFC lightweight strap on two occasions in 2011. Their tussle in January of last year came to an historic draw. In October again their fight was considered one of the most thrilling of the 2011 season. In both cases, Maynard nearly knocked Edgar out in the first round, but a spectacular come-from-behind performance saw the champion retain his title. In January it went to the judges; but in October Edgar knocked Maynard out in the fourth round.

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