Table of Contents
- 1. Received His Black Belt within Five Years
- 2. Nicknames “The King” and “The Iron Dragon”
- 3. Submitted Only Once in His BJJ Career
- 4. From Rags to Riches
- 5. First Introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at a Daycare
- 6. Road to Becoming the No-Gi Champion
- 7. Gordon Ryan’s BJJ Coaches
- 8. Has a High Submission Percentage
- 9. Has Multiple Sponsors
- 10. Has Won the ADCC Championship Several Times
- 11. Gordon Ryan's Relationship Status
- 12. Worked Hard to Achieve Goals
- 13. Gordon Ryan’s Illness and Treatment
- 14. Gordon Ryan’s Family
- 15. Gordon Ryan’s Brother is the Youngest ADCC Competitor
- 16. Conclusion
Gordon Ryan, also known as “The King,” is the greatest No-Gi athlete ever. The 27-year-old No-Gi athlete has a large fan following due to his likable personality. Ryan has lived an interesting life, from childhood to champion. Though many people will not get the chance to meet the legend in person, this article can help them get to know some interesting facts about Ryan. This article provides a list of interesting facts about Gordon Ryan.
1. Received His Black Belt within Five Years
Ryan started his BJJ career at the age of 15. Right at the start, it was clear he was a tough and hardworking individual. After becoming World Champion and the first Newaza Challenge Champion, Ryan was promoted to black belt at the age of 20 by Garry Tonon and John Danaher in February 2016.
2. Nicknames “The King” and “The Iron Dragon”
Ryan has two nicknames: “The Iron Dragon” and “The King.” He earned the name “The Iron Dragon” during his time as the EBI Champion.
Later, after achieving a winning streak against some big names in BJJ No-Gi fights, Ryan started calling himself “The King,” wearing a crown and a robe.
3. Submitted Only Once in His BJJ Career
Ryan was submitted only once in his entire black belt career. In Studio 540 Superfight, Felipe Pena submitted Ryan with a rear naked choke. This was the beginning of a rivalry between Ryan and Pena as the former was again defeated by the latter in the ADCC World Championship 2017.
A highly anticipated rematch was scheduled between Ryan and Pena at the 2022 Who’s Number One. After 44 minutes, Ryan defeated Pena via technical submission. Later, Pena claimed that he was not mentally prepared for the match due to the death of his close friend, Leandro Lo. However, FloGrappling did not approve his request for a rematch.
4. From Rags to Riches
Ryan was born into a family that did not have a lot of money. To pay for his BJJ education, Ryan worked full-time as a garbage man. After he saved enough money for his BJJ training, Ryan quit his job to focus all of his time on his martial arts career.
Ryan is one of the most highly-paid grapplers in the BJJ world. He owns a 1.2 million dollar house and expensive cars often shown as pictures on his social media.
5. First Introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu at a Daycare
Ryan was first introduced to MMA by a daycare teacher who was a fan of UFC and often showed off various BJJ moves. Once when shopping with his mother, Ryan saw a BJJ gym. This was the moment when Ryan chose to go into BJJ. He started his BJJ training under the instruction of Mageul Benitez.
6. Road to Becoming the No-Gi Champion
When Ryan started training under John Danaher, he met many skilled No-Gi BJJ athletes who inspired him to learn this fighting style. Eventually, Ryan became the No-Gi World Champion in the brown belt division. Later, he became the winner of the No-Gi Black Belt World and Pan Championships.
7. Gordon Ryan’s BJJ Coaches
Ryan started his BJJ journey with Miguel Benitez when he was 15 years old. He did not stay long as he eventually moved to New Jersey to train under Tom deBlass. During his training at deBlass’s gym, Ryan was introduced to and began training with Garry Tonon, deBlass’s most talented and accomplished student. Later, Ryan was introduced to John Danaher, Tonon’s mentor, and started traveling to New York every day to train with him at Renzo Gracie Academy.
8. Has a High Submission Percentage
Ryan has a high submission percentage, due to winning 80 out of 98 matches or 82% of his matches via submission. He has defeated many legendary BJJ heroes like Keenan Cornelius, Vagner Rocha, Romulo Barral, Craig Jones, Mahamed Aly, Ralek Gracie, Max Gimenis, Kaynan Duarte, Marcos Souza, Vitor Shaolin, Tim Spriggs, Pedro Marinho, Garry Tonon, Lachlan Giles, Matheus Diniz, Felipe Pena, Nick Rodriguez, and ADCC Hall of Famer, Andre Galvao.
9. Has Multiple Sponsors
Ryan has already earned too much money from Jiu-Jitsu tournaments which is enough to change his life. Ryan is sponsored by many big brands, providing much of his income. One of the biggest sponsors who has supported Ryan was Bitcoin Cash, which offered $100,000 in ADCC 2022. Recently, Ryan has also secured a sponsorship deal with FloGrappling in 2023.
10. Has Won the ADCC Championship Several Times
Ryan is a four-time ADCC world champion and a one-time ADCC Superfight champion. In 2019, he underwent surgery after suffering a tear in his lateral collateral ligament (LCL). Due to the surgery, Ryan had to put off BJJ training for some time. Luckily, his injured knee recovered and he got the chance to participate in the ADCC 2019 and won double gold.
In the ADCC 2022 Superfight, Ryan went up against Andre Galvao, a multiple-time ADCC Superfight champion. Luckily, Ryan submitted with a rear naked choke and became the winner of the ADCC 2022 Superfight.
11. Gordon Ryan's Relationship Status
Ryan has been in a relationship with Nathalia Santoro since 2016. Santoro is a fitness model, a bodybuilder, and a brown belt under John Danaher who has participated in many BJJ tournaments. She met Gordon Ryan at Renzo Gracie Academy.
12. Worked Hard to Achieve Goals
Ryan followed a hectic routine during his time training with Danaher’s morning class in New York.
After waking up at 5 a.m., Ryan would leave home at 6 a.m. and travel for two hours for BJJ training at 8 a.m. He would train from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m., then take a shower and rest until 12 p.m.
After attending the 12:30 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. session, it would take another two hours to get back home. He would then head to college for classes from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. Then he drove five minutes to reach Dante Rivera BJJ Academy and train from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. Ryan would travel for another half hour to Brunswick BJJ to train from 8:30 p.m. to 9:30 pm.
After that, Ryan went to train with Tonon until 11 p.m. He returned home against and would fall asleep at 1 a.m. Ryan trained for seven hours and traveled six hours every day.
13. Gordon Ryan’s Illness and Treatment
Ryan was diagnosed with Helicobacter pylori in 2019. However, he later learned that is was actually a fungal infection in his stomach. In 2021, he was diagnosed with a staph infection. After taking antibiotics for a long time to cure the infection, he began to suffer from stomach pain.
In 2023, Ryan came down with strep throat when he returned from a trip to Abu Dhabi. To treat his swollen throat, the doctor gave him a lot of antibiotics, including penicillin and amoxicillin, which did not work. Ryan switched to clindamycin, which worked for a while but did not cure him completely. As his symptoms worsened, doctors suggested that Ryan get surgery. After getting surgery and recovering at home, Ryan is preparing to take part in BJJ competitions again.
14. Gordon Ryan’s Family
Gordon Ryan used to live with his parents in New Jersey. His mother, Trish Ryan, and his father, Gordon “Big Gord” Ryan Sr., were supportive of his interest in BJJ. He also has a younger brother named Nicky Ryan, a black belt under John Danaher. When Gordon was 7 years old, his parents lost a land dispute with his grandparents. Despite their financial situation, Gordon remained close to his parents. He frequently posted pictures of his parents on his Instagram account. Gordon’s parents, especially his father, often came to see his matches and attend his training sessions.
15. Gordon Ryan’s Brother is the Youngest ADCC Competitor
Nicky Ryan is the younger brother of Gordon Ryan and is also the youngest ADCC competitor ever. He dropped out of school at 16 years old to focus on his BJJ career. When Gordon Ryan and John Danaher separated after Danaher’s Death Squad was disbanded, Nicky left this team and joined Vraig Jones, Ethan Crelensten, and Nick Rodriguez to form B Team.
Gordon Ryan is a well-known athlete and No-Gi champion. He is a four-time ADCC champion and once ADCC super champion. Ryan submitted many well-known BJJ athletes throughout his black belt career, while he had only been submitted once. Ryan started BJJ training when he was 15 years old but had to work hard to earn the money necessary to continue his training.
After years of hard work and training, Ryan has become the super athlete he is now. Ryan is one of the most highly sponsored athletes in the BJJ world. Sadly, for the past few years, Ryan has been suffering from bacterial infections and stomach aches. Hopefully, he will become well enough again to compete on the mat.
Photo Credit: @gordonlovesjiujitsu