UFC star Xiaonan Yan promoted to Blue Belt after a 5 rounder against Mackenzie Dern

UFC strawweight Xianon Yan is close to the very top of the UFC strawweight division. Yan faced a huge test when she was booked to face rising strawweight star Mackenzie Dern.

Dern is a celebrated BJJ champion and one of the biggest BJJ stars to have successfully transitioned into MMA.

And Yan accomplished all of that before she even got her blue belt.

She recently made an announcement that she got her blue belt in BJJ. She posted a picture of her promotion featuring her instructor, UFC Hall of Famer Urijah Faber.

Yan Xiaonan promoted to BJJ Blue Belt by Faber
Yan Xiaonan was promoted to BJJ Blue Belt

Yan uploaded a pic at the Team Alpha Male gym, with the following caption on her Instagram:

“Tonight I won the blue belt in Jiu Jitsu! Very happy 🥳 Thank you 🙏 coach!”

Faber’s ‘promotion’ questions the core tradition of Brazilian jiu-jitsu

However, everyone’s pointing out the lack of an actual belt including another UFC athlete, Song Yadong.

While BJJ promotions are fairly standard, they typically always involve a belt. Further, they also tend to be tied to Gi BJJ most of the time.

There are a few systems that work without a Gi, Eddie Bravo’s 10th planet being a major one. There’s also Greg Jackson’s Gaidojutsu. Both are respected in BJJ and MMA communities.

Faber is presenting Yan with a ranked rash guard instead of a blue belt which is almost unheard of. While ranked rash guards are a requirement for competing in nogi, they’re not that common in most dojos nor are they necessarily tied to ranking.

Urijah Faber still doesn’t have his black belt

The featherweight icon has been stuck as a brown belt for more than a decade now. His coach, Fabio Prado, says that he’s not ready to get a black belt yet. This is despite Faber having defeated many top-tier black belts in the octagon.

Urijah Faber has been a bjj brown belt for the last 10 years
Urijah Faber has been a bjj brown belt for the last 10 years

Despite Yan being a new blue belt, she has proven that she can roll with the best.

The Chinese star defeated BJJ and ADCC champion Mackenzie Dern in her last outing by a majority decision.

After defeating Dern, Yan praised Team Alpha Male’s jiu-jitsu training. She said that it helped her survive Dern’s onslaught.

“I feel very happy that I made the right choice to stay in the US, training with Team Alpha Male. The whole team helped me a lot. MacKenzie’s jiu-jitsu is definitely on another level; I felt it during… She is very dangerous…… but I survived through that and I made it.”