Demetrious Johnson Prefers Jiu-Jitsu in the Gi: ‘More Options to do Something than in No Gi’

Demetrious Johnson Prefers Jiu-Jitsu in the Gi: ‘More Options to do Something than in No Gi’

Demetrious Johnson, the former UFC flyweight champion, recently provided commentary and analysis on a 2017 Brazilian jiu-jitsu match without the gi (nogi) between Dillon Danis and Gordon Ryan.

In a video breakdown posted to his YouTube channel, Johnson expressed some criticisms of nogi Brazilian jiu-jitsu. He asserted that there are fewer techniques available compared to competitions using the gi.

Johnson argued that the lack of grips from the gi in nogi grappling leads to stalled positions, with opponents constantly pushing and posting against each other. He suggested that gi grips like the lapel and sleeves allow for greater control of an opponent’s posture and provide additional options to progress attacks and change positions.

“What I prefer about competitions using the gi versus nogi is that you have more choices in what to do, how to control your opponent’s posture,” Johnson explained.

“In nogi, it’s constantly pushing, controlling arms, pushing, pushing, looking to pass, pushing to pass. In nogi, I pulled guard and was able to grip my opponent’s lapel, which impacted how he tried to pass my guard. And I was able to return to my feet and re-shoot for a takedown,” Johnson explained.



The Mighty Mouse keeps training Jiu-Jitsu for the love of it, but also because he wants to earn the black belt one day.
Here’s what he had to say about it in “The MMA Hour” interview:

Life’s too short not to explore different avenues, and it’s something that I want to do.
And I don’t want to do a lot of things. But that’s something I was like, no, I want to do it.

I really want to get my black belt. I’m a brown belt now.

Mikey Musumeci, too, would love a submission grappling match against Johnson:

It would be an honor to grapple with him and that would probably be the biggest match of my life in grappling so far, like with viewership.

I don’t know, just stepping on the mat with the “Mighty Mouse”, to touch a legend, would be so cool.

Johnson had this to say about the difference when competing in No Gi and Gi:

“I’m like, dude, this is like… like, I love the complexity of what the gi brings to the game. When I’m in no-gi, I’m just so athletic. I can just shift things down.”


The former flyweight champion criticized the frequent pulling of guard in the Danis vs. Ryan match, arguing that the competitors should have been required to remain standing and wrestle after failed guard passing attempts. Johnson stated this approach could make the matches more exciting for mainstream audiences less familiar with grappling exchanges.

Despite his critiques, Johnson acknowledged that the Danis vs. Ryan match displayed a high level of grappling skill. While stating his preference for competitions using the gi, Johnson praised the competitors’ techniques and toughness throughout the close and tactical match.

Johnson currently holds a brown belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and has announced his intentions to continue competing in BJJ after his MMA career concludes. He hasn’t competed in MMA for some time, leading some to question the financial viability of ONE Championship.