Australian Hulk Who Went from White to Brown Belt in 2 years On What To Expect in Superfight with Gordon Ryan

Australian Hulk Who Went from White to Brown Belt in 2 years On What To Expect in Superfight with Gordon Ryan

Gordon Ryan is set to make his 2024 debut, defending his WNO Heavyweight Championship against big man Josh Saunders at WNO 24 in Austin, TX on June 20. This highly anticipated match marks Ryan’s return to competition after a hiatus due to stomach issues that have impacted his training.

Gordon Ryan, the reigning WNO Heavyweight and ADCC Super Fight Champion, has been sidelined for months due to health problems. Despite his absence from competition, he remains undefeated since 2018, boasting a 55-match winning streak. This streak, along with the caliber of his opponents, has solidified his status as the top pound-for-pound grappler in the world. With the 2024 ADCC World Championships approaching in August, where he is slated to face Yuri Simoes, Ryan’s upcoming match against Josh Saunders is crucial. Ryan steps back into the ring on short notice to face Saunders, a formidable opponent who could potentially match Ryan’s physical prowess.

Renowned for his well-rounded grappling skills, Ryan excels in escapes, leg locks, guard passing, top control, and back attacks. He trains in Austin, TX under his long-time mentor John Danaher, leading Team New Wave.

Here is Gordon’s current form:

Who is Josh Saunders?

Josh Saunders is a two-time ADCC Asian & Oceanic Trials Champion, set to compete in the +99kg division at the 2024 ADCC World Championships. Hailing from Australia, Saunders is known for having gone from white belt to brown in a staggering 4 years and for his exceptional size (120kgs), strength and agility. As a prominent strength and conditioning coach in Australia, he has also made a significant impact in the grappling world. WNO 24 marks his debut in the WNO arena, where he will face the monumental challenge of dethroning the reigning champion, Gordon Ryan.

Don’t miss out on this thrilling event as two of the best in the sport clash on June 20 in Austin, TX.

Saunders, who remarkably progressed from a white to a brown belt in just two years, shared insights and thoughts on his upcoming superfight in a recent interview.

A Sudden Opportunity

The opportunity for this high-stakes match came as a surprise to Saunders. “It was out of the blue out of a DM on Instagram,” he recalls. The promoter of Who’s Number One, Ricardo, reached out with a potential date, and Saunders jumped at the chance despite initial uncertainties. “We had some things to do on our end to be able to not step on any toes… This is stupid if we don’t take it. Let’s do it.”

Rigorous Preparation

Preparation has been intense and focused. From the moment Saunders learned about the match, he and his coach began rigorous training. “As soon as you knew about it you hit me up and we kind of went through the process of like anytime are we happy with the match,” he shared. They will be completing their final training sessions in Austin, Texas, where Saunders will train with the Tackett brothers at Fight Factory. “We’re doing the last little leg of the training sessions there which is going to be great.”

Mindset and Goals

Saunders is not approaching this match lightly. For him, it’s more than just a fight; it’s a test of his mental and physical development. “I’m not doing this sport as a hobby… I’m doing it to be able to test where I’m at in terms of my own mental development.” The opportunity, though unexpected, feels like a natural progression of his hard work and dedication. “It’s completely unexpected but at the same time it is also kind of expected.”

Strategic Approach

In terms of strategy, Saunders is pragmatic. He acknowledges the difficulty of the challenge ahead but remains optimistic about his chances. “My best attacking system always comes from the back.” Given Ryan’s formidable record, Saunders anticipates that a decision is a more likely outcome than a submission. “I think decision is probably more likely of an outcome if it does that go that way.”

Physical and Mental Readiness

Travel and the upcoming match’s physical demands do not faze Saunders. “I travel pretty well and I’ve got a pretty solid head so I don’t worry about that too much.” He prepares for his opponents to be at their best, regardless of any potential physical setbacks they might have. “I would like to automatically assume that they’re going to show up at their best no matter what.”

Handling Public Perception

Aware of the scrutiny and commentary that comes with high-profile matches, Saunders remains unfazed by online negativity. “People generally punch up a lot and you don’t ever see people punching down.” He maintains a pragmatic approach to social media criticism. “I could not give less of a [__] what people on the internet say because I just turn the little nightmare rectangle off.”

Dedication and Commitment

Saunders’ rapid rise in the sport is a testament to his dedication. “If you want something you got to put everything towards it.” He emphasizes the importance of consistent effort and focus. “It’s really just how you apply yourself and continue to do that on a day-to-day basis.”

Drawing Inspiration

Saunders draws motivation from Ryan himself and other top athletes. “Gordon even says this as well he’s like I don’t really do anything all that special to show up and do the things that people aren’t willing to do for longer than they willing to do them.”

As Saunders prepares for the biggest match of his career, his story is a compelling example of dedication, strategic thinking, and an unyielding pursuit of excellence. The superfight against Gordon Ryan promises to be a thrilling test of his skills and determination.