Felipe Pena and Gordon Ryan have had an explosive rivalry for quite some time now, owing to the fact that Pena is the only man to defeat Ryan twice at black belt, first at a Studio 540 superfight and second at the 2017 ADCC world championships. Additionally, Pena remains the only person to have ever submitted Ryan in black belt competition when he won by rear-naked choke back at their superfight in 2016. Even after five years have passed since Ryan was last forced to tap, the exchanges between the pair have still left a bitter taste in both of their mouths.
Ryan recently shared some private messages between him and Pena that showed that the exchanges between the two aren’t just for show and their seems to be a fair amount of genuine dislike between them. According to him, Pena has avoided being matched against him several times over the years and wants to hold on to the fact that he currently holds a 2-0 record in matches between the two. Of course, Pena vehemently denies this and has called Ryan a liar on several occasions over the years.
Since Pena lost the superfight championship match against Andre Galvao in 2019, he was scheduled to return to the under 99kg division where he last won gold in the upcoming ADCC world championships. Then news broke that Gordon Ryan would not only be taking on Galvao for his opportunity to bring home the superfight championship in 2022, but he would also be moving up in weight to the over 99kg division to attempt to take home ADCC gold in a third weightclass too.
This seems to be what has sparked the re-ignition of the rivalry between the pair as Felipe Pena has decided to seize the opportunity to face Gordon Ryan and move to 3-0 against him, requesting that ADCC officials move him up to the same weightclass. The pair will be coming into ADCC 2022 from very different perspectives as Pena recently won the IBJJF world championships and retired from gi competition, whereas Ryan is actually still in the middle of a lengthy hiatus from competition due to his stomach condition.
Felipe Pena announced his intention to move up to the over 99kg weightclass in order to face Gordon Ryan at ADCC 2022 in a post to his official Instagram account: