Khabib Nourmagemedov is known as being one of the best grapplers in MMA, and his fighting style, in general, is to take his opponents to the ground and ‘smash them’. But, today I will cover what belt Khabib is in jiu-jitsu.
Khabib Nourmagemedov is a white belt in jiu-jitsu. However, jiu-jitsu has the same roots as judo and sambo. Khabib is a black belt in judo. The skills in judo are almost identical to BJJ. However, he does not hold an official black belt in BJJ.
Below, I will explain the differences between sambo, judo, jiu-jitsu, and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, so you have a very clear picture of how Khabibs skill in grappling compares to a jiu-jitsu black belt.
How Khabib Grappling Skills Compare to a Jiu-jitsu Black Belt
In grappling there are a nearly infinite amount of techniques. But, there are core positions such as the mount, back, and side control. These are common in virtually all grappling arts such as sambo, jiu-jitsu, and judo.
Judo can also be thought of as identical to jiu-jitsu. The reason it has the same roots. jiu-jitsu is a fighting style from Japan. It was many hundreds of years ago as the unarmed fighting style of the Japanese military. Who were are one time in Japan’s history the samurai.
It was not trained so much at a certain point in Japan’s history and around the world. But, was later revived by Jigoro Kano in 1882. He changed the name from jiu-jitsu or the alternative spelling ju-jitsu to ju-do or judo.
Many of the techniques in judo are exactly the same as jiu-jitsu. Such as arm locks, the hip throw, and the scarf hold position. The same is true of the moves in sambo.
Therefore, because Khabib is a blackbelt in judo, and the equivalent of sambo, it could be argued that Khabib has the same skill level as a black belt in jiu-jitsu. Even though, he has not been awarded one officially.
Here’s a video of Khabib competing in a sambo competition:
As you can see he employs many classic jiu-jitsu positions such as the open and closed guard. Sambo is virtually identical to MMA and involved boxing and kickboxing. Whereas, a judo or BJJ match is grappling only.
Khabib is also the equivalent of a black belt in sambo. In the Russian region, there is a unique accreditation system for combat sports called the Unified Sports Classification System of the USSR and Russia.
What Khabib thinks of jiu-jitsu and BJJ
Khabib has one big criticism of jiu-jitsu and that is the lack of effective takedowns. He says that on the ground jiu-jitsu is perfect. But, takedowns need to be trained separately. In my opinion, this criticism is valid. In that, a jiu-jitsu class typically only a small amount of time is spent working on takedowns.
He has famously worn a shirt to a UFC weigh-in that says “if sambo were easy, it would be called jiu-jitsu” (source).
When it comes to sparring, which typically happens at the end of the class, students typically start on their knees or on their butt. However, this is somewhat false because jiu-jitsu has many effective takedowns that are also used in wrestling, and judo. Such as the double leg takedown, the inside trip, and the hip toss.
However, Khabib is an expert in martial arts. Therefore, he is likely aware of more effective takedowns that are unique to Sambo. If you take a look at the types of throws Khabib uses, there are all very similar or identical to those used in BJJ. Such as the hip toss. Here’s a video that shows the grappling techniques, and ground techniques he uses:
It appears the main difference between Khabibs throws and throws used in BJJ are that he has a way of doing them where the other person is flung with a lot of force and leverage. Where they not only get taken down but land very hard.
Does Khabib Practice Jiu-jitsu
Khabib is well known for being very good at Sambo. He also is arguably the pound-for-pound best fighter in MMA. So, does he also practice jiu-jitsu?
In general, Khabib doesn’t practice jiu-jitsu on its own from a jiu-jitsu blackbelt. However, virtually all of the techniques Khabib trains are also trained in jiu-jitsu. Khabib is a black belt in judo, which is virtually identical to jiu-jitsu.
He is also the equivalent of a black belt in sambo. Sambo is more similar to MMA than BJJ. But, many of the same techniques used in sambo such as the mount position are also used in BJJ.
Effective grappling is universal. For this reason, effective techniques that have been found in one martial art are also commonly used in others. Especially in the grappling martial arts. The main difference between sambo and jiu-jitsu is that sambo has boxing and kickboxing as part of the curriculum.
What’s Better Judo or Jiu-jitsu
Jiu-jitsu, judo, and sambo all have the same roots. However, the techniques and the way they are trained differ slightly. Here’s a summary of which is better: judo or jiu-jitsu.
In general, jiu-jitsu is better than judo. However, the throws and ground techniques in judo and jiu-jitsu are virtually identical. Judo and jiu-jitsu are technically the same martial art. As judo is a renaming of jiu-jitsu. However, judo has more of an emphasis on throwing techniques.
Judo competitions are very different from jiu-jitsu competitions. The reason is a person can win a match if they do an ippon. This is either a perfect throw, if they hold down their opponent for 20 seconds straight, or if their opponent gives up, ‘taps’, to a submission. Whereas, a jiu-jitsu match only ends if a person taps to a submission or they win by points.