Steve Mowry has just achieved one of the highest compliments one can get in the world of grappling.
The Bellator heavyweight received his jiu-jitsu blackbelt from standout grappler and UFC welterweight contender Gilbert Burns on Wednesday after 12 years of training jiu-jitsu.
The black belt came on the heels of Mowry’s first-round submission win last Friday at Bellator 271. Mowry (10-0 MMA, 6-0 BMMA) tapped Rakim Cleveland with a Kimura to remain unbeaten in his professional MMA career.
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“When Steve came here, we were at the Blackzillians and he said he was a blue belt coming from Pittsburgh, so I just helped him sharpen up his skills, and he said, ‘Bro, I want to train under you,’” Burns told MMA Junkie. “So after that, we always had a great relationship, and I helped him out with little things because, like I said, he already had a good level.
“After a little bit, I gave him his purple belt and through the years I gave him his brown belt. I was already thinking about giving him his black belt at the end of the year after talking to my brother, Herbert. We were about to give him his black belt and then he got another submission finish, so I wanted to give him his black belt at the fight (Bellator 271), but I didn’t have it.
“I told my wife to order a belt when we got home, and we gave him a very deserving black belt. He’s been doing a great job, evolving everywhere, and he just turned 29. He’s working very hard. I think he’s going to have a bright future – great jiu-jitsu, great standup, works super hard. I think he’s on the path to be the Bellator heavyweight champion, and I’ll do my best to help him as much as I can. I’ll always be there to help him out with anything he needs. I think he’s going to be a champion very soon.”
Mowry made his professional debut in 2016 and has since put together 10 consecutive wins. Six of the 10 victories have come by submission. Mowry is currently ranked No. 6 in Bellator’s official heavyweight rankings.