Gordon Ryan recently issued a public challenge to Rafael Lovato Jr in order to determine the greatest American submission grappler ever, and he did so in an incredibly respectful way in fairness. Ryan took a look at the criteria for FloGrappling’s rankings and explained that this would put Lovato Jr as the greatest of all time and himself just behind in second place. He did explain however, that he understood that Lovato Jr has been much busier with his MMA career in the last few years as Bellator Middleweight Champion, and has been making his return to gi competition since retiring from that.
Rafael Lovato Jr took notice of the challenge from Gordon Ryan on his official Instagram account, and responded quickly to confirm that he’d love to fight “the best submission grappler of this generation”. He also included the fact that the ADCC World Championships were going to be delayed until 2022 as the perfect opportunity for the pair to arrange a big match between them for 2021:
“Thanks for the respect Champ. I have faced the best in the game (Gi, NoGi, & MMA) for the last 15+ years, of course it would be a pleasure to test myself against the best submission grappler of this generation. I will be back to NoGi in 2021 & with no ADCC, I think it will be perfect to focus on a big match with you. I enjoy the puzzle you bring & would love to try to solve it. You know there is no going backwards in me”