Demetrious Johnson recently decided to break down the match between Gordon Ryan and Patrick Gaudio, and it led him to reveal how he thinks Ryan would perform if he ever made the transition to MMA. It’s a topic that’s come up quite a lot over the years but Ryan has laid it to rest once and for all by confirming that he’ll be sticking with professional grappling. Historically this would have been an unusual choice because most BJJ competitors eventually transitioned to MMA, but Ryan has performed at such a high level during his career that he’s changed the game completely.
He’s been able to make an insane amount of money that no professional grappler before him would have ever thought to be realistic, and he’s cemented his legacy as one of the greatest of all time before he’s even retired. Johnson is well aware of the status that Gordon Ryan has in the grappling world too:
“I don’t know who out there can beat Gordon Ryan, I mean that’s why they call him the king of no gi.”
Demetrious Johnson still evaluated Ryan’s skillset from his perspective as one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time and although grappling is only half of the sport, he believes that Gordon Ryan has a lot of what it takes to succeed already:
“If you wanted to do MMA it would be easy for him to punch people. Hardest thing that Gordon Ryan would have to get by is just the hands. I feel like the hands in mixed martial arts is a small curriculum, where having good ground (game) and knowing where to push and move, and hold somebody down and control the fight… you become a world champion. There’s plenty of athletes who’ve been great wrestlers: Brock Lesnar, Ben Askren, Matt Hughes, I mean the list just goes on… Who are very dominant wrestlers or grapplers that have become world champions.”
Although Johnson believes that Ryan has the necessary skills to make it to a high level in MMA, he didn’t stop there. He believes that Ryan could actually be a world champion in the sport if he ever decided to leave the professional grappling world behind. To his credit, Johnson also addressed the issue of PEDs in grappling and how that would no longer be an option in MMA:
“If Gordon Ryan wanted to fight, I think he could probably be world champion in mixed martial arts. He’s just gotta get past the striking part, his ground is so good that he’d be fine. He’s also small. What I mean by small for the heavyweight division, he’d have to go down to 205. And I don’t know if he’d be able to pass any drug tests but he makes so much money from grappling that he doesn’t have to do mixed martial arts. But I think he could be a world champion in MMA.”
Demetrious Johnson uploaded the video of him breaking down the match between Gordon Ryan and Patrick Gaudio, where he discusses Ryan’s potential ability in MMA, to his official YouTube channel: