At this year’s ADCC World Championship, we saw Gordon Ryan become the undisputed king of grappling and probably the greatest no-gi grappler of all time. Gordon managed to conquer the +99kg division and win the super-fight against Andre Galvao, becoming a 5-time ADCC champion in four different categories (88kg, 99kg, +99kg, absolute). Four of Gordon’s five matches were won by submission, with Victor Hugo being the only one to go the distance and lose on points (8-0).
Gordon has a no-gi grappling record of 96 wins and 5 losses with an 82% submission rate, and he hasn’t lost a match since his point loss to Vinny Magalhaes in 2018. With a record like that and wins over the best athletes in jiu-jitsu, the question is: Who is next for Gordon Ryan? This article will examine a couple of potential matchups for Gordon and analyze some grapplers that might upset the king.
The Atos athlete Kaynan Duarte has been on an incredible streak recently. He has won the ADCC world championship twice (2019, 2022) and is also a two-time IBJJF world champion (2021, 2022). Kaynan fought Gordon back at the 2018 No-Gi Pan Ams, and he had a successful back take at one moment. Eventually, Gordon took his back and finished him in a very close match. Recently, Kaynan has beaten great grapplers such as Craig Jones, Rafael Lovato, Elder Cruz, and more, raising the possibility of a match with Gordon.
Felipe “Preguica” Pena
Gordon’s most fearsome rival is undoubtedly Felipe Pena. The two athletes faced off three times, with Pena winning twice and Gordon once. Also, Felipe is the only competitor to finish Gordon in his black belt career. In their recent match, Gordon managed to put tremendous pressure on Felipe and make him quit due to exhaustion, but it took him 45 minutes to do so. Although Felipe Pena has had some tough losses recently (Nicky Rod and Tye Ruotolo), he is a very dangerous grappler and will always be a threat. These two will likely meet again, and it will be a great match, without a doubt.
Yuri is a tough veteran with excellent wrestling skills and a perfect game for the ADCC ruleset. Simoes won the ADCC absolute title this year, beating some great athletes on his way, such as Nick Rodriguez, Roberto “Cyborg” Abreu, and Nicholas Meregali, Gordon Ryan’s teammate. The two athletes faced each other four times in their careers, with Gordon winning all four matches (2 submissions and 2 point victories). There is no doubt that Yuri has evolved a lot since then, and the two will have their super fight at the 2024 ADCC World Championship. If Yuri can use his wrestling skills, he may present a problem to Gordon Ryan’s supremacy.
Former teammates Craig Jones and Gordon Ryan would have the most spectacular technical match any jiu-jitsu fan could ask for. Craig Jones is known as a great technician, and he is a two-time ADCC silver medalist. Furthermore, he trained with Gordon for a long time, so he probably knows some of his weaknesses. There are three matches between these two, and Gordon has won all three. However, their EBI 14 match is perhaps the last time Gordon was in serious submission danger. Although Gordon is a lot bigger than Craig, a match between these two will surely be an interesting one.
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