Nick Delpopolo is best known for being a decorated judoka. A two-time Olympian, he has also medaled multiple times at the Pan American Championships. Over the past three months, though, he’s branched out into jiu-jitsu, and he found success at his competitive jiu-jitsu debut as a BJJ blue belt.
Delpopolo recently competed in an American Grappling Federation tournament and took home gold, using a combination of his judo expertise and what he’s learned about BJJ in the past few months. He told the Jiu-Jitsu Times in a message that he was getting “a lot of heat” for not competing at black belt, despite only having been training in jiu-jitsu for a quarter of a year. Replying to a comment on Instagram, he said he would gladly fight at purple belt once he was promoted, adding, “I don’t like the idea of things coming easy or being a cheater/sandbagger but I do need to know how to defend the things shown at purple if I plan on competing there, which I do. Really I just wanted to compete and try the new things I learned just to stay game-ready for Judo as there are no competitions in sight, domestically speaking. It was a good experience.”
From what we can tell, Delpopolo has a promising competitive jiu-jitsu career if he keeps up with it. He’s far from the first judoka to add jiu-jitsu to their resume, but it can only benefit the sport to have such accomplished athletes in our midst.
Check out Delpopolo’s matches below: