When it comes to the biggest names in Submission Grappling, Gordon Ryan is at the top of the list. Considered one of the greatest No Gi grapplers of all time, Gordon “The King” Ryan has racked up an impressive number of wins against the toughest opponents in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. 

Gordon Ryan

Who Is Gordon Ryan?

Gordon Ryan was born in New Jersey in 1995 and began training BJJ under Miguel Benitez at the young age of 15, however he soon switched to training under Tom DeBlass. 

A few months into training BJJ, Ryan met Garry Tonon, a brown belt and rising BJJ star at the time, and the two became friends as Ryan frequently attended Tonon’s classes.

Eventually, Gordon Ryan started traveling to New York with Tonon to train with John Danaher, one of Tonon’s mentors and a head coach at Renzo Gracie Academy. 

Ryan soon began dominating the submission only circuits, and ultimately received his black belt from Garry Tonon in 2016.

Gordon Ryan’s Competitive Career

Gordon Ryan BJJGordon Ryan is arguably the most successful No Gi competitor to date and boasts victories over some of the best BJJ black belts in the world, including Lachlan Giles, Tim Spriggs, and his mentor Garry Tonon himself. 

Additionally, Ryan won by advantage against Marcus “Buchecha” Alemeida in 2019.

Gordon Ryan’s career is marked by a high percentage of submission victories, with over 80 percent of all wins coming by way of submission.

Upcoming potential high profile matches including a standing challenge against Andre Galvao for the ADCC Superfight Championship. Additionally, Ryan and Rafael Lovato Jr. have a verbal agreement to compete at some point in 2021.

Outside of submission grappling, Gordon Ryan signed a contract to fight in Mixed Martial Arts in 2021 under the ONE Championship promotion. Due to a rescheduling Ryan has yet to make his MMA debut.


Gordon Ryan is no stranger to controversy, primarily due to conduct on social media as opposed to behavior in actual competition.

Ryan has been accused of various politically charged controversial statements on social media over the years.

Additionally, Gordon Ryan has engaged in multiple public feuds with other top level grapplers outside of the competition mat.  

For example, in November 2020, he accused fellow ADCC medalist Lachlan Giles of using performance enhancing drugs in response to Giles publicly stating that champion competitors who won while using PEDs should relinquish their titles.

Gordon Ryan vs Andre GalvaoIn February 2021, a public spat between Andre Galvao and Gordon Ryan came to a head when footage emerged of the two elite grapplers exchanging heated words before Ryan slapped Galvao twice. Event staff quickly intervened to calm down the situation, although it did not appear that Galvao, who is no stranger to fighting, intended to escalate the conflict

Andre Galvao publicly apologized for his behavior and explained why he chose not to escalate, while Gordon Ryan’s statement on the issue showed little remorse.

Gordon Ryan: The Story Continues 

Despite his controversial public face, Gordon Ryan remains highly respected for his grappling skills and will undoubtedly remain at the top of the Submission Only grappling competition for the foreseeable future.

He is among the flagship competitors of the Danaher Death Squad and has shaped a generation of grappling culture through his absolute domination in submission only grappling.

The grappling world eagerly anticipates Gordon Ryan’s debut in MMA, and Ryan could certainly be the next top grappler competing in Mixed Martial Arts.

July 05, 2021