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Nicky Ryan– Youngest Athlete To Compete In ADCC

Nicky Ryan– Youngest Athlete To Compete In ADCC

1. Nicky Ryan’s Details

Nicky Ryan’s Detail
Name  Nick Ryan
Pro MMA Record 23-6-0 (Win-Loss-Draw)
Nickname Nicky
Date of Birth 27-06-2001
Age 20
Height 5’8”
Weight NA
Born New Jersey, USA
Nationality American
Last Fight July 21, 2021, in FloGrappling Road to ADCC
Weight Division Featherweight
Career Disclosed Earning NA
Fought out of New York
Foundation Style No-Gi Grappling
Lineage Carlos Gracie –> Helio Gracie –> Carlos Gracie Junior –> John Danaher –> Nicky Ryan
Team Association Renzo Gracie Academy
Favorite Position/Technique Open Guard / Leg Locks
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2. Nicky Ryan’s Biography

Nicky Ryan is one of the best No-Gi competitors in the world, who made history as the youngest male ever to compete in the ADCC World Championship in 2017.

He is a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under John Danaher and a BJJ prodigy who's been making headlines since he was a teenager.

Nicky Ryan is known as the younger brother of Gordon Ryan (a two-time ADCC gold medallist) in the jiu-jitsu world, but he is much more than that.

Ryan originally created a name for himself in sports when he was just 13 years old, winning adult contests. He was easily defeating the world's top grapplers before he could even drive. Before reaching the age of 18, Ryan defeated several notable names in the sport, like Masakazu Imanari, Geo Martinez and Uriah Faber, etc.

He is one of the major members of the Renzo Gracie Academy, New York, popularly known as the Danaher Death Squad (DDS). Recently, Ryan left DDS and is now working as part of the B-Team.

2.1. Nicky Ryan’s Early Life and Amateur Fighting

Nicky Ryan was born in New Jersey, United States , on June 27, 2001.

He began his jiu-jitsu training at a local club when he was just eight years old, being influenced by his older brother, Gordon Rayan. His early thoughts on this fighting sport were not favorable . He trained intermittently at least two times per week until his enthusiasm faded away and he stopped his training for a few years.

Nicky finally decided to make a comeback in 2015 after seeing his brother's profession flourish and being convinced by Gordon to give BJJ another try. He started his training again under coach Danaher at Gracie Academy in New York.

Nicky began to enjoy grappling and put more effort into his training the second time, which was completely different from his previous attempt. His talent finally came to the surface by training with world-class athletes. He quickly picked up the DDS leg lock systems and increased his jiu-jitsu ability.

2.2. Nicky Ryan’s Pro BJJ Career

Nicky’s training methods, including heel hooks from the very beginning, turned out to be fruitful and helped him to win adult tournaments at the age of 13. He shocked the world by competing and winning against opponents twice his age and with more experience. Ryan's remarkable accomplishments at such a young age were echoed in several grappling-related internet forums at the time, enhancing his profile.

Observing Nicky’s passion and dedication for BJJ, his parents decided to pull him out of the traditional school system in 2016 because high school was conflicting with his training schedule. However, he was being home-schooled after that and his tuition was being covered by his jiu-jitsu teacher, John Danaher, who is also a Columbia University Philosophy major.

Nicky got his blue belt at the age of 15 and started becoming famous in competitions.

2016 ADCC Trials

The young talent gained national attention in 2016 after coming third in the ADCC East Coast Trials, one of the toughest competitions in the country.

2016 ADCC Trials

The following year, at the East Coast trials, Ryan competed in the same tournament and again secured a win in the high division.

Youngest Competitor in the ADCC World Championship

Nicky’s two performances at the ADCC Trials caught the eyes of the ADCC heads, earning the teenager an invite to the World Championships in Finland in September 2017.

Nicky entered the main show when he was just 16 years old, making history as the youngest athlete to ever compete in this competition, perhaps the most prestigious contest in the sport.

Promotion to Black Belt

Nicky earned his purple belt on June 21st, 2017, at the age of 16, after following Coach John Danaher's program. This is a rank that is rarely granted to athletes in their teens.

On October 9, 2019, Nicky was elevated to brown belt, and on November 3, 2020, he was promoted to black belt, the same day as his training partner Ethan Crelinsten.

DDS Break Up

Around 2020, the Danaher Death Squad (DDS) moved out of Renzo's basement in New York and decided to make their headquarters in Puerto Rico.

Their first plan was to make it a hub for the top grapplers all around the globe to come and train. But unfortunately, Nicky and Gordon’s father passed away in December 2020, leaving the two brothers without their biggest support.

In July 2021, after the initial plan to make DDS headquarters in Puerto Rico failed, Gordon moved to Austin, Taxes, along with Danaher and the rest of the DDS team.

Soon after that, John Danaher announced their break up on Instagram, shocking the BJJ world with what marked the end of the biggest No-Gi team in the world.

Formation of B Team

In 2021, Nick Ryan parted ways with Danaher and his brother Gordon and created his own platform “The B-Team” in Austin along with Nicky Rodriguez, Craig Jones, and Ethan Crelinstein.

2.3. Nicky Ryan’s Wrestle up Series

Ryan also got a chance to explore his potential as a BJJ trainer while teaching at B-Team. He even started his own “Wrestle Up Series” where he explained open guard techniques like the butterfly along with various leg locks and no-gi grappling methods. 

2.4. Nicky Ryan’s Injury

Nicky Ryan was active on the pro grappling scene before the DDS breakup. He competed for the Austin-based grappling promotion four times (3-1) before the DDS split up. Ryan also won the Road to ADCC event by fighting against Dante Leon, but he got an injury during that fight.

His leg was severely damaged as his meniscus flipped around completely, causing his knee to lock up.

Nicky Ryan is currently healing from that injury and working on the growth of the B-Team alongside. He will soon be seen back competing in tournaments, trying to win his first ADCC Championship.

Ryan will be fighting in the WNO tournament this year against Couch which will be held on March 25, 2022.

2.5. Nicky Ryan’s Historic Fights

Nicky Ryan Vs AJ Agazarm (2017 ADCC World Championship)

In 2017, Nick Ryan made history as the youngest fighter in ADCC World Championship by fighting against AJ Agazarm, the pro-MMA fighter.

The young superstar was defeated by AJ Agazarm by earning enough points when he sat back for a failed leg lock. Although Ryan could not win this match, he will always be remembered as the youngest person to fight in the ADCC Championship.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2017 ADCC World Championships AJ Agazarm L Points NA 66 kgs

Nicky Ryan Vs Phill Harris (Polaris 7-2018)


Nicky Ryan fought against the pro-MMA fighter Phill Harris at the Polaris 7 tournament held in 2018. This time, the teenager got a splendid win by beating Harris with an armbar within the given time limit.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2018 Polaris 7 Phillip Harris W Triangle NA Featherweight

Nicky Ryan Vs Dante Leon


At the Road to ADCC tournament held on July 17, 2021, Nick Ryan made a historic win against Dante Leon, the highest-ranked opponent he has faced so far. Despite getting a severe leg injury halfway through the match, Ryan continued the fight by grappling from his back. Ryan was able to take Dante down several times during the match by using multiple double legs. At last, he made an impressive win with 5-0 points.

Nicky Ryan’s wrestling development and guard passing were particularly evident during the match.

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2021  Road to ADCC Dante Leon W Points SPF 77 kg

2019 ADCC World Championship


In 2019, Nicky Ryan again appeared in ADCC and won all three trials against his opponents, making his way to the ADCC World Championship.

Ryan scored 1-1 at the ADCC World Championship by winning against Jamil Hill Taylor in the first round and losing against Paulo Miyao in the second round. 

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2019  ADCC World Championships Paulo Miyao L Points  4F 66kgs
2019  ADCC World Championships Jamil Hill-Taylor W Points  R1 66kgs

2.6. Nicky Ryan’s Championships and Accomplishments

  • Polaris Championship
  • ADCC East and West Coast Trials
  • ADCC World Championship

3. Nicky Ryan’s Main Achievements

Youngest fighter ever to compete in ADCC World Championship 2017

Position Event Year
Champion Polaris Invitational (145 lbs) 2019, 2018
1st ADCC US West Coast Trials 2019
3rd ADCC US West Coast Trials 2017
3rd  ADCC US East Coast Trials 2016

4. Nicky Ryan’s Professional Record Breakdown 

Professional Record Breakdown
29 Matches 23 Wins 06 Losses
By Submission 17 0
By Decision 3 1
By Points 2 4
Split Decision 1 0
Other 0 1

4.1. Submission Method W/L

Methods Wins Losses
Triangle 1 0
RNC 5 0
Heel Hook 3 0
Inside Heel Hook 1 0
Outside Heel Hook 1 0

5. Nicky Ryan’s Fight History

Year Event Opponent W/L/D Method Stage Weight Class
2021  Road to ADCC Dante Leon W Points SPF 77 kg
2021 WNO 9 Gabriel Almeida W Decision SPF 83 kg
2021 WNO 8 PJ Barch W Split Decision SPF 83 kg
2020 WNO 4 Tony Ramos W Heel Hook  SPF 75 kg
2020 WNO Tye Ruotolo L Decision  SPF 75 kg
2020 Sub Stars JZ Cavalcante W Inside Heel Hook  SPF  NA
2019  ADCC World Championships Paulo Miyao L Points  4F 66kgs
2019  ADCC World Championships Jamil Hill-Taylor W Points  R1 66kgs
2019 Polaris 10 Urijah Faber W Decision  NA  65.8kgs
2019 ADCC West Coast Trials Richard Alarcon W RNC  NA 66kgs
2019  ADCC West Coast Trials Keith Kirkorian W RNC  NA 66kgs
2019  ADCC West Coast Trials A. Lopez W Other  NA 66kgs
2019  ADCC West Coast Trials A. Muradyan W Other  NA 66kgs
2019 ADCC West Coast Trials Kade Ruotolo W Outside Heel Hook  NA 66kgs
2018 Polaris 8 M. Imanar W RNC  NA Featherweight
2018 Quintet 3 Hideo Tokoro W RNC  NA  68.4 kgs
2018 Polaris 7 Phillip Harris W Triangle  NA Featherweight
2018 Kasai Pro 2 G. Martinez W Decision  NA 140lbs
2017 Musclepharm Fight 2 Win Pro 56 R. Lule W RNC  NA 63.5 kgs
2017 ADCC World Championships AJ Agazarm L Points  NA 66kgs
2017  United Grapplers Association Paulo Miyao L Points  NA 66kgs
2017 Fight 2 Win Pro 34 D. Alumbaugh W Heel Hook  NA  NA
2017  ADCC West Coast Trials A. Alduncin W Other  NA 66kgs
2017  ADCC West Coast Trials L. Quinones W Other  NA 66kgs
2017 ADCC West Coast Trials J. Rivandeneira W Other  NA 66kgs
2017 ADCC West Coast Trials P. Alfonso W Other  NA 66kgs
2017 ADCC West Coast Trials E. Crelinsten L Points NA 66kgs
2016 Studio 540 Superfight K. Maciel L Other NA  NA
2016 Canadian Kumite D. Vu W Heel Hook NA Absolute Division

6. Nicky Ryan’s Top Fight Links

ADCC Trials: Nicky Ryan Highlights

Nicky Ryan: Road to ADCC 2019

Tye Ruotolo vs Nicky Ryan Who's Number One: Gordon Ryan vs Kyle Boehm

Geo Martinez vs Nicky Ryan - Action from Kasai 2

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