Nicky Ryan will be taking on a huge challenge at the next Who’s Number One event on February 26th, as he steps up against Roberto Jimenez. This is only the second matchup announced for the card, following the main event between Craig Jones and Ronaldo Junior that was announced just a matter of days ago. This marks a massive step up in both quality of competition, and actual weight for Nicky Ryan as he has traditionally fought no heavier than Featherweight and his most recent matchup was against NCAA Champion wrestler Tony Ramos. While Ramos is certainly no slouch, he’s also a pure wrestler who had exactly zero experience competing under BJJ rulesets until that match.
Ryan did come out on top in stunning fashion at that Who’s Number One event though after locking up a heelhook within 30 seconds. Roberto Jimenez actually competed at the exact same event as Nicky Ryan, against his teammate Craig Jones, although he would go on to lose by heelhook. Seeing as Jimenez has never fought below 81kg in his competitive career at black belt, Ryan must’ve put on some serious weight in the time since ADCC 2019, where he competed at 66kg. Jimenez has competed on the WNO stage again since then, where he managed to defeat Dante Leon in a very tough matchup that would be decided by judges in the end.
Regardless of how this match plays out, it’s great to see Nicky Ryan competing against fellow elite-level BJJ practitioners in the prime of their competitive careers. This is an appropriate challenge for the younger Ryan brother’s first match since he was promoted to black belt by John Danaher and although he may be the underdog against Jimenez and his hot streak, he definitely has a clear path to victory if he can impose his gameplan.
The full Who’s Number One event will be streamed live on FloGrappling on February 26th, click here to subscribe and watch.