When the ONE Championship announced the signing of a contract with the best and most popular grappler in the world, Gordon Ryan, earlier this year, martial arts fans hoped it meant that “King” decided to try out MMA.
After all, his teammate and also top grappler, Garry Tonon, had done six MMA fights successfully in the Singapore promotion arena, so it seemed like the natural sequence would be for his younger and more successful colleague to do so.
But many experienced disappointment when it became known that Gordon’s contract related to grappling performances, which should appear at ONE shows. For a long time, it's not just a set of MMA skirmishes, but a combination of various martial arts, so grappling will find its place there.
In an interview with MMAFighting, Ryan explained what actually happened, how he came into contact with ONE, and what his MMA experience has been so far. "It's actually something that's been in the game for a long time.
After I won the ADCC in 2017, Garry Tonon decided to go with MMA. ONE contacted him and made an appointment with him, and they wanted to sign me right away." "But I wasn't for it. I just won my first ADCC, I was 22 and I decided to stay in grappling for a few more years and then go into MMA.
Over time I started with MMA sparring, to learn new skills."
"And then in 2019, I injured my knee. I had a catastrophic injury that required surgery and rehabilitation. I came back shortly before I had to go to ADCC prep camp in 2019."
"I hated MMA because I couldn't train for four months because of it. I went back to training, I had to focus entirely on jiu-jitsu. Shortly after that ONE contacted me again, but my focus, after I won the absolute category, was to fight Andrea Galvao at the next ADCC."
"So I'm not sure when it comes to MMA, I don't know whether now nor will I deal with it at all, because my main focus is to do ‘super fight, it’s something I haven’t won in no-gi jiu-jitsu yet."
"Then I gave them a proposal to arrange a contract for grappling performances, and if I ever want MMA, it will be with them, ”he explained. Ryan has won everything in grappling so far, despite turning only 26 next month.
Yet one thing he has not yet accomplished. Victory over Galvao, the only man currently to boast of references that could jeopardize Gordon’s status as the best. But that fight could never be agreed upon. Ryan hopes it will be at the next ADCC, as a “super fight” fight, but maintaining it is also still questionable because of the conditions in which the competition should take place.
Unfortunately, it is difficult to provide the conditions for a competition with a huge number of participants, as is expected at the largest grappling competition in the world. And that match with Galvao is currently a priority and a reason why he couldn’t focus on MMA.