What do you think – how well would Gordon Ryan do in an MMA match? Or, in other words – how well do you think modern submission grappling works in MMA?
In his „Beyond the Fight“ episode, Chael Sonnen shares a few of his thoughts on these topics.
COULD GORDON RYAN MAKE A TRANSITION TO MMA?
He starts off by saying that Gordon Ryan could most certainly make a transfer into MMA. He has a great advantage against many other combat athletes, Chael explains, simply because he’s such a dominant athlete in the sport; because the only person who could beat the Gordon Ryan from a year ago is the Gordon Ryan of today! Furthermore, he is well used to performing under the pressure of spotlight, he doesn’t shy away from challenges, he has the discipline and determination to keep the fire burning… And those are all great qualities that give him such an advantage.
However, yet another question pops up: how well could he learn the new skills required for MMA? Can he learn the wrestling, getting on top, and which submissions he should and shouldn’t aim for in an MMA match?
BUT, HOW WELL COULD HE DO IT?
Chael elaborates that Gordon would most certainly be able to learn those things and many more, such as a jab, a cross, a leg kick, to close the distance a bit differently and to do so with an upright, rather than a bent-over posture. This becomes evident especially when the gains he’s been continuously making are taken into consideration, despite the fact that he has been on the top of the game for such a long time.
However, Chael argues that Gordon should do this by learning through the experiences of his teammate, Garry Tonon – who has made the transition to MMA in a very successful fashion. That’s especially the case because it is true that Gordon does know how to become a world-class fighter, showing that consistently through his performances… But that it still may turn out that he finds MMA not to be made for him, that it is a completely different animal than he thought it was.
WHAT IS IN THERE FOR BJJ SUBMISSIONS IN MMA?
Chael points out that, as far as BJJ is considered in and of itself, the skill levels in it have never been higher. The jiujiteiros are much more skilled and put up phenonemal performances, which has a lot to do with the development of different aspects… Including leg attacks; which, in Chael’s opinion, don’t really exist in MMA.
He argues that this is because if a fighter fails at doing everything right when setting up a leglock, he’s in too much of a danger from getting punched at will by his opponent. And, even though he does admit to Ryan Hall being notorious for his leglock game in MMA (read: his Imanari Roll and Heel Hook finish against BJ Penn), he emphasizes that this sort of a submission seldom ever happens.
Furthermore, he explains that there aren’t too many things that you can learn in BJJ that pay off well in MMA. The most important thing to know, in his opinion, is to know how to gain top position… And in so far as submissions themselves are considered, they almost always happen when one of the fighters is too tired and ready to just give in; and so they give up position to get the match done with – for example, turning their back, upon which their opponent finishes them with a Rear Naked Choke.
It’s a very similar thing with Kimuras, Armbars and similar, Chael says; as they don’t happen to have that much of an effect in MMA matches as it is usually thought.
Listen more on Chael Sonnen’s thoughts on the video below: