Israel Adesanya, Brad Riddell and Carlos Ulberg made the best of a bad situation.
The trio from Auckland's City Kickboxing gym found themselves stuck in the United States after traveling over in early November for Ulberg's chance to earn a UFC contract.
Unable to return home until mid-December, the three Kiwi UFC stars based themselves in San Diego, linking up with world-renowned Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu gym Atos, with whom City Kickboxing is affiliated, at their headquarters.
For the past month, the three striking-dominant mixed martial artists have been training in nothing by BJJ, training at least twice daily. Ulberg explained it had been a great learning experience, and estimated he had been submitted between 200-300 times over the past month, but was noticing his improvement every day.
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Getting in so many reps with high level grapplers, the Kiwis made huge improvements to their own game - large enough for Atos head coach André Galvão to promote Adesanya and Riddell from blue to purple belt - two steps below a black belt - while Ulberg received stripes on his white belt.
Galvão surprised Adesanya with his new belt, asking the UFC champion to help him demonstrate a hold, before pulling the belt out of his Gi and awarding it to Adesanya.
"I've learned a lot here from Jiu-Jitsu," Adesanya said upon receiving it, addressing the group at Atos.
"Don't get me wrong, I've learned from every single person, but the main thing, and it sounds cliché when I say it, this guy," he said clutching Galvao's shoulder, "I never thought going to another gym, you'd see the same kind of family atmosphere we get back home.
"The catalyst is this man right here. Like he said, he's of the service industry. Apart from Jiu-Jitsu, I've learned so much, and being around him, he has an influence on everyone and [they're] just being a better person.
"I still don't feel like I deserve this, but I trust his judgement. A lot of you have told me I've gone up, and it's only been one month. I've got access to the online classes, and I'll make a promise - at least once a week I'm in the Gi. It's not going to be another five years before I put the Gi on."
Adesanya, Riddell and Ulberg flew out of the United States earlier this week and are set to undertake their two weeks of quarantine. Ulberg said the trio would get out of quarantine on Christmas day, so remained hopeful they would get to spend at least some of the day with their loved ones.