Gordon Ryan is widely considered to be one of the greatest Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioners in the world. For more than a decade, ‘The King‘ has dominated the competition as a five-time ADCC Submission Fighting World champion, a four-time IBJJF No-Gi World champion, and a four-time winner at the Eddie Bravo Invitational.
After having achieved so much success in the world of submission grappling, many have wondered when Ryan will take the next step in his combat sports career by competing in mixed martial arts. Speaking with Ariel Helwani on ‘The MMA Hour‘ following his victory over Nick Rodriguez at UFC Fight Pass Invitational 3, Ryan revealed that he is interested in trying his hand at MMA, but as jiu-jitsu becomes more mainstream it feels less necessary to make that jump.
“I don’t know. John [Denver] has never been wrong about anything. He’s never been wrong. He’s told me things like whether it be five years or three years or seven years later. He always ends up being right and John is like, ‘Absolutely do not go into MMA. You make a ton of money doing this. You’re considered the greatest of all time and jiu-jitsu’s about to become mainstream. Once it becomes mainstream, everyone’s gonna get paid more and it’s just gonna be like a real sport and you’re on the forefront on that and if you move to MMA now, that could be lost.’
“I’ve always wanted to fight MMA, but I’m in such a good position now and I feel like it’s kind of my job to push jiu-jitsu over the hump into mainstream so I’m not totally ruling it out, but I’m pretty comfortable just grappling right now.”
Ahead of the UFC Fight Pass Invitational on Wed, Gordon Ryan explains what it will take to make him transition from BJJ to MMA ⤵️ pic.twitter.com/Q4h5x1XKm2
— Amy Kaplan (@PhotoAmy33) December 12, 2022
Gordon Ryan Claims to Make More Money Than Current UFC Champions
Asked if he had ever come close to competing in mixed martial arts, Gordon Ryan revealed that he had been training for a transition to MMA in 2019. Unfortunately, tragedy struck as he tore his LCL early in the year which required surgery that put him on the shelf for six months.
“I was actually going to start fighting in 2019. I was actually getting ready. I was sparring. I was actually getting ready. I went to a Bellator event and I was talking to some guys from Bellator. I was talking to ONE [Championship] about fighting MMA and then in 2019, right in the beginning of the year, I fought Joao Gabriel Rocha and I tore my LCL. I had to have surgery on my LCL. So the second I came back from LCL surgery, the focus wasn’t MMA anymore. I was hopping into camp for ADCC because we had 2019 ADCC at the end of the year.
“So like seven months off surgery, I had to compete in ADCC so that was the focus, and then I won the Absolute so now I’m looking forward to 2021 ADCC where I have to fight Andre [Galvao] which ended up being 2022. I just kept getting roped back into jiu-jitsu like, ‘Oh, there’s something more I have to do in jiu-jitsu before I leave.’ Now I’m at a point where I don’t have to leave. I make more money than most UFC champions and there’s no reason for me to get punched in the head every day and then have to fight.”
Ryan has defeated some of the biggest names in submission grappling including Garry Tonon, Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida, Bo Nickal, Aleksei Oleinik, Gabriel Gonzaga, Pat Downey, Andre Galvao, and Josh Barnett.