It’s official, Gordon Ryan has now had his ONE FC debut announced and he will be taking on a legend of Japanese MMA and grappling in Shinya Aoki on August 27th. The news of his upcoming openweight grappling match was first announced by ONE FC CEO Chatri Sityodtong in a post on his official Twitter account. While this might seem like an unusual pairing, Aoki is well-known for his willingness to forego the usual weightclasses and take on challenges from fighters who have phenomenal size advantages over him.
He previously took on Fedor Emilianenko at the height of his powers in an exhibition bout and even moved up in weight for ONE FC to challenge Ben Askren for the promotion’s Welterweight title not so long ago. Throughout Aoki’s career he has shuffled between weightclasses although Lightweight is where he got most of his success as he has won titles in various promotions at that weight. Regardless of how happy he has been to take on massive challenges, not many people would’ve predicted him as the debut opponent for Gordon Ryan when he first announced his signing to ONE FC.
While many fans might’ve pointed to Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida as a logical opponent for Ryan as the silver medalist in the absolute division at ADCC 2019, it seemed unlikely when Buchecha made his intentions clear that he wanted an MMA fight instead of a grappling match. This is all due to the fact that, while Ryan’s contract with ONE FC does allow for the option of pursuing an MMA career at the Asian promotion, it is not something he currently has in mind and at present wants to take on grappling matches there instead.
BREAKING NEWS: Gordon Ryan will make his debut in ONE Championship against Shinya Aoki in an openweight grappling super match on August 27!
— Chatri Sityodtong (@yodchatri) May 10, 2021