- Kevin Belingon has been promoted to blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu
- Belingon is a former ONE bantamweight champion
- He seeks to redeem his MMA career after losing five matches in a row
While Eduard Folayang and Joshua Pacio are in the United States training at the world-renowned Jackson Wink MMA Academy in Albuquerque, New Mexico, one of their brothers-in-arms has attained a morale-boosting milestone back home.
Kevin Belingon has been promoted to blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu by Prof. Gibran Langbayan on Monday, April 10.
Langbayan, who received his black belt from Prof. Leonardo Fernandes in February 2022, surprised Belingon with a promotion during their regular training session in gi at the Maharlika Martial Arts Center in Baguio City, Philippines.
It has been a long time coming for the former ONE bantamweight champion, who spent nearly 16 years as a white belt before becoming eligible for the next belt level.
“Being promoted as a blue belt in BJJ is a big milestone for me. It gives me the fire to do more and continue the hustle. I will work hard and enjoy the process,” Belingon told the International Business Times.
It can be recalled that Belingon’s desire to focus on improving his ground game was among the reasons why he decided to part ways with Team Lakay.
Belingon, along with Folayang, Pacio and Honorio Banario, made headlines this past March when they publicly confirmed their departures from the legendary stable.
For “The Silencer,” it was admittedly a tough decision to make. But in some way, leaving the team that he helped build from the ground up is starting to pay off.
Belingon rededicated himself to jiu-jitsu last December under the guidance of Langbayan, who has been a consistent podium finisher in international tournaments since 2017 with six gold medals to go along with three silvers and two bronzes.
The 35-year-old Kiangan, Ifugao native feels flattered by the fact that Langbayan deemed him fit to advance to blue belt.
“With Professor Langbayan believing in my capabilities, I must say it’s uplifting. Having said that, I am aware that I still have a long way to go, but we’ll surely get there as we continue to put in the work,” Belingon stated.
Participating in a formal jiu-jitsu competition is something that Belingon is open to doing in the future.
“I am considering it, but we’ll see,” he said with a gleeful smile.
For now, Belingon is keen on revitalizing his MMA career. He has lost five-straight bouts since relinquishing his possession of the ONE bantamweight title to Brazilian arch-nemesis Bibiano Fernandes in March 2019.
Belingon conceded that his latest feat as a combat sports athlete gives him a valid reason to look forward.
“It’s definitely a step in the right direction. I will just leave it at that,” he ended.
Nissi Icasiano is a sportswriter, analyst and editor from the Philippines. He started his professional career in 2013. He has also written for various media outlets such as Rappler.com, ABS-CBN, Tiebreaker Times, Philboxing.com, MSN.com, South China Morning Post, The Phnom Penh Post and the International Business Times. In 2017, he started a career as a Combat Sports Analyst for television and radio, appearing on various news shows for ABS-CBN, GMA, TV5, Radyo Singko 92.3 News FM, PTV 4, Business World, Radyo Pilipinas 2 and Bombo Radyo Philippines. He practices boxing at Tiger City Boxing Gym whenever he is not writing.