Three-time ADCC world champion, IBJJF no-gi world champion, and a four-time Eddie Bravo Invitational champion Gordon Ryan is now a member of the ONE Championship roster, having recently inked a deal for both MMA and grappling competition.
That’s according to CEO Chatri Sityodtong, though a date and future opponent have yet to be revealed.
Ryan, 25, is widely-considered to be one of the best no-gi grapplers in the world, boasting victories over the likes of Gabriel Gonzaga, Rousimar Palhares, Garry Tonon, and Josh Barnett, just to name a few.
But not everybody was on board for his transition.
“I’m doing my best to talk Gordon Ryan out of doing MMA,” coach John Danaher recently told Flo Grappling. “It’s my belief that grappling is at a pivotal point in its history. There is a chance submission grappling could expand to a remarkable degree over the next 10 years. In order for that to happen, the sport needs superstars.”
And superstars need money, which is why most high-profile grapplers and wrestlers eventually transition to MMA, including Askren.
“It’s individuals who start revolutions,” Danaher continued. “I believe that people like Gordon Ryan, Craig Jones, Garry Tonon, numerous other people from other teams could do something really positive in this direction. If Gordon went to MMA, I feel like that would be lost. My dream is to make a situation where young grapplers don’t need to go to MMA to make money.”
Hopefully Ryan’s deal with ONE allows him to keep pushing the sport of grappling into the mainstream.