After signing for Singapore-based One Championship, no-gi BJJ ace Gordon Ryan's debut fight has been announced. One Championship president Chatri Sityodtong recently announced the news on his social media handles.
Gordon Ryan will face off against a true veteran of the martial arts in Shinya Aoki. The two highly-skilled combat sports athletes will compete in an openweight grappling match this August.
Here are three reasons why this contest is one fans should keep their eyes peeled for.
#3 Openweight grappling
Harkening back to the days of Pride Fighting Championship's openweight grand prix, this bout will have no set weight limit. This would seemingly give Gordon Ryan a large advantage.
Gordon Ryan typically competes at super-heavyweight, which is 220-lbs or 100.5 kg. Meanwhile, Aoki often fights at lightweight, which has a limit of 170-lbs at One Championship. He will likely come in as the physically superior of the two.
This may not be quite so integral were the contest an MMA bout. Aoki has been a consistent fighter for One Championship and is currently riding a four-fight win streak. Unfortunately for Aoki, the fight will be solely grappling-based, an area that Gordon Ryan has a lot of experience in.
#2 Aoki's complete skillset
Shinya Aoki is by no means a pushover for Ryan to simply defeat in order to build his reputation with One Championship fans. Aoki is one of the top-five-ranked lightweights in the organization and is coming off back-to-back submission finishes.
Aoki holds an MMA record of 47-9-0-1 and has been with truly elite opposition such as Eddie Alvarez, Eduard Folayang and Kazushi Sakuraba. However, whilst his focus in recent years has been on MMA, Aoki has also had his share of grappling bouts.
He is the winner of ADCC Japan, Rickson Gracie’s Budo Challenge and the Dumau/Kansai Cup, as well as multiple One Championship grappling contests.
#1 Gordon Ryan could be one of the greatest grapplers on the planet
Gordon Ryan is one of the few submission grapplers/no-gi competitors who has managed to transcend their original sport. Ryan has a plethora of accolades to his name. He is a three-time ADCC world champion, an IBJJF no-gi world champion, and a four-time Eddie Bravo Invitational champion.
He has submitted and out-grappled multiple MMA stars such as Aleksei Oleinik, Gabriel Gonzaga and Micky Gall. Ryan has also picked up wins against submission grappling greats, including Keenan Cornelius, Gary Tonen and Craig Jones.
Ryan has repeatedly hinted at the possibility of making the move to MMA and having now signed with One Championship, it looks more likely than ever. Should he make it past an experienced grappler and MMA fighter in Aoki, we may well see him putting on the 4oz gloves in the near future.