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Profile of a Champion: Gordon Ryan
Gordon Ryan is a name you might have heard earlier in 2016, but after last weekend, it’s a name that you will come to know. In a matter of one night, Ryan has catapulted his name to the list of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu competitors that can be considered some of the best in the world. He has already made his name recognized in the world of submission only style tournaments. If you don’t know who the young man is, this is one profile that you need to keep reading.
Gordon started training BJJ at the age of 15 under Miguel Benitez, who was the first coach to get his feet wet in the art. Later on, he would begin an education under a stellar group of trainers that included Tom DeBlass, Garry Tonon, John Danaher and Eddie Cummings. Under their tutelage, his game varied and advanced. He became known for his leg locks, butterfly guard work and triangle chokes. He was able to use those skills to take home a third place medal at the 2014 Pan American Championships in no gi, and win the Newaza Challenge in 2015.
His first big competition title was when he won the No Gi Worlds as a brown belt. After showing success in major competition, early in 2016, he was awarded his BJJ black belt by his coach and friend, Garry Tonon. He became Tonon’s only black belt at the tender age of 20. From there, Ryan would continue his winning ways while picking up wins over some highly recognized competitors.
He would beat Enrico Coco at the Sapateiro Invitational and 10th Planet black belt, Nathan Orchard at the Portland Sunday Open. Ryan’s big break came this past week. As EBI 6 was right around the corner, the highly skilled Eddie Cummings had to pull out of the tournament due to injury, and his teammate, Gordon Ryan took his place. He was touted as an underdog with little chance of advancement in the tournament.
Even with a ton of pressure, he was able to overcome, as he submitted everyone of his opponents in the tournament. Jacen Flynn fell by rear naked choke, Marcello Bergo fell to a kneebar, Yuri Simoes by rear naked choke in overtime and finally Rustam Chsiev by rear naked choke in overtime. He went from unknown to the first ever EBI Absolute Champion. At such a young age, Ryan’s name is already on everyone’s mind in the no gi community, and he will have many more championship wins to come, so keep an eye out for this unassuming champion.