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Gordon "King" Ryan

Gordon "King" Ryan

Learn the secrets this ADCC champ used to build strength and lean muscle on his way to gold!  Click Learn More!


Gordon Ryan is a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt under Garry Tonon and John Danaher.  He represents the tip of the grappling spear that is the Danaher Death Squad led by grappling and combat mastermind John Danaher and features a cast of jiu jitsu stars like Tonon, and Gordon's younger brother Nicky Ryan.  At 23 years old, Gordon has achieved many of the major goals that any black belt jiu jitsu athlete would strive for.  He secured the gold medal in his first foray into the ADCC World Championships in 2017 and earned a silver medal in the absolute division, one of the best ADCC debuts in the events history.  He is a multiple time Eddie Bravo Invitational winner and added black belt No Gi Pan American Champion to his list of accomplishments in 2018.


  • ADCC Champion (2017) -88kg Division

  • IBJJF Pans No-Gi Champion (2018**) +97.5kg  and Absolute

  • Quintet 3 Champion (2018)

  • EBI 6 OW Champion (2016)

  • EBI 8 MW Champion (2016)

  • EBI 11 WW Champion (2017)

  • EBI 14 OW Champion (2017)

  • Grappling Industries Champion (2017/2016)

  • ADCC 2nd Place (2017)--Absolute

  • IBJJF World No-Gi Champion (2015 brown belt)

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Prior to his breakout debut at the 2017 ADCC World Championships in Finland, Gordon Ryan had made the decision to build onto his already ultra-lean frame and move from his healthy walk around weight in the mid-180's and work to move north of 200, building strength and lean mass to be the strongest he could possibly be for the -88kg division in Finland.

He solicited the help of his partner and strength and conditioning coach Nathalia Santoro, herself an accomplished female bodybuilder, fitness model and trainer.  They recently joined forces with BJJ Fanatics to create "Getting Swole As a Grappler" a DVD and Online instructional that details the workout, nutrition, and mindset program Gordon followed in preparation for the ADCC Worlds in Finland.



 Intro to the Workout

In this excerpt from Gordon's "Getting Swole As a Grappler", he and his fitness and nutrition coach Nathalia Santoro introduce the reason why he created the series.

 Gordon and Stretching

In this video, Gordon talks about the importance of stretching and how he incorporates a short, easy-to-follow routine of stretching after most jiu jitsu and strength sessions.

 Barbell Presses with Gordon Ryan

In this final video excerpted from "Getting Swole As a Grappler" we see Gordon performing bench presses under the watchful eye of Nathalia.  The details such as the increase in tension that Nathalia's downward press during the negative phase of the exercise and the deep stretching in between sets will help change the way you approach strength and conditioning training.


Gordon "King" Ryan

Gordon Ryan was born in 1995 in Monroe, New Jersey.  He was introduced to BJJ by his first instructor Miguel Benitez, himself a student of Tom DeBlass.  Under the tutelage of Tom DeBlass, Gordon would eventually become a full-time student of Tom's first black belt Garry Tonon.  When Garry began teaching at Brunswick BJJ, Gordon would become a full-time student of Garry's and would eventually begin traveling to NYC frequently to train at the Renzo Gracie Academy in Manhattan.  Both he and Garry would quickly become the core of the Danaher Death Squad, training alongside grapplers like Eddie Cummings and MMA fighters like George St. Pierre and Chris Weidman.

The hard-nosed discipline and worth ethic of Tom DeBlass and Garry Tonon was ingrained in the young Gordon Ryan early on. He would achieve his first taste of high level victory as a brown belt at the No Gi Worlds in 2015. The foundation created by Tonon and DeBlass would later be coupled with the philosophic methodology of John Danaher and it helped lead to Ryan's meteoric achievement of his black belt at the age of 20 after barely 5 years of training in 2016.

Since then the grappling achievements of Gordon Ryan have been many.  He and his Danaher Death Squad teammates all but dominated the Eddie Bravo Invitational events, with Gordon securing the belt at four of the events himself.  It would be his 90 minute submission only victory against the legendary Keenan Cornelius that would ultimately inspire the nickname "The King".

With his incredible success also came and rising tide of detractors and naysayers who saw his "specialization" in sub only events as a point of contention.  Never one to quietly ignore the detractors, Gordon's presence on social media can sometimes be eerily reminiscent of US President Donald Trump who is also known to shoot from the hip.  Gordon Ryan would silence many of his critiques who saw him as a 'sub only one trick pony' when he put on a dominating show in Finland at his first ADCC World Championship event, eventually winning the -88kg division defeating Dillon Danis, Romulo Barral, Xande Ribeiro and Keenan Cornelius.  and securing a silver medal in the Absolute after beating Roberto "Cyborg" Abreu, Craig Jones, and Mahamad Aly before being bested by champion Felipe Pena.

After the ADCC event, Gordon shocked the grappling world by promising to focus solely on Gi jiu jitsu training for the foreseeable future to give himself time to take on the elite athletes in the IBJJF gi circuit.  Most recently, Gordon Ryan has begun to show signs that he may follow the footsteps of his instructor, mentor and friend Garry Tonon and step onto the MMA stages sooner than later.  Either way, the fans of the grappling and combat sports will be eagerly awaiting King Ryan's next move.

Notable Techniques

 There are many amazing black belt athletes out there.  Being one of the elite athletes in the sport does not always mean that someone is a great teacher of the art.  Gordon Ryan is an example of a grappling athlete of the highest caliber who is also an extremely accomplished teacher, having perfectly blended the ability to clearly explain techniques like his mentor Tom DeBlass, while also giving students a broader, systematic and philosophic approach to positions gained from his current primary instructor, John Danaher.

Butterfly Hook Sweep

During a visit to the Bernardo Faria Academy near Boston, Gordon showed one of his favorite Gi sweeps.  Check it out below!


 ADCC Arm in Guillotine

On his way to the gold medal at 2017's ADCC World Championship, Gordon would once again meet fellow grappling all-star Keenan Cornelius.  Their match would end with Gordon catching Keenan in an amazing arm in guillotine that he shared with Bernardo Faria in the video below.  Check it out!


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In this  highlight video, we see Gordon Ryan taking on a veritable who's who of grappling legends on his way to securing gold in division and silver in the absolute, which is one of the best performances in the history of the ADCC championship.

 In the match that would inspire the nickname "The King", Gordon would battle his friend and one of the most accomplished grapplers out there, Keenan Cornelius for nearly 90 minutes before eventually submitting Cornelius.  Grab a beverage and make yourself comfortable for this one!


 In the next match, we see Gordon Ryan taking on the Aussie Craig Jones at EBI 14 in 2017.  This was the second time that year that the two of them has crossed paths, with the first being during Craig's own breakout performance in his first ADCC event.