MANILA -- Kevin “The Silencer” Belingon appears to be working on his ground game extensively during his offseason as he received a blue belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu.
The 35-year-old spitfire from Kiangan, Ifugao was promoted by Prof. Gibran Langbayan, who possesses a stellar credential as a submission grappler and a black belt under Prof. Leonardo Fernandes.
Langbayan, who earned the distinction as the first black belt in the Cordillera region, awarded the new rank to Belingon at the Maharlika Martial Arts Center in Baguio City on Monday, April 10.
“It was an unforgettable surprise,” Belingon said of his promotion.
The former ONE Bantamweight World Champion began his training in jiu-jitsu in 2007, the same year that he turned pro in the sport of mixed martial arts (MMA). However, his main focus was on his prizefighting career.
Belingon has faced a long list of elite submission artists inside the Circle, including Masakazu Imanari, Masakatsu Ueda, Toni Tauru, Reece McLaren and Bibiano Fernandes.
Even though he has defeated opponents with exceptional grappling backgrounds, Belingon is aware that he still needs to improve in this area.
Last December, he decided to join the classes conducted by Langbayan to advance his skills on the mats.
Little did “The Silencer” know that he was ripe to transition from white to blue in four months’ time.
“This achievement is meaningful to me. All the hard work, the late nights, and the sacrifices are worth it,” he stated.
“I still have a long way to go, but I am a patient man. I’m willing to put in the work to get there.”
Participating in jiu-jitsu tournaments could be on Belingon’s agenda in the future.
“I am considering it, but we'll see," he said.
Belingon was last seen in action this past November, bowing to South Korean hard-hitter Kim Jae Woong by way of first-round technical knockout.
He plans to kickstart his road to redemption later this year.
“The priority, of course, is my MMA career. I am here to prove that I’m not yet done and I still have a lot to offer,” Belingon declared.