Table of Contents
- Name – Gordon Ryan
- Nickname – The King
- Association – Renzo Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy/Ocean County BJJ/Brunswick BJJ/Danaher Death Squad
- Nationality – American
- Rank – Black Belt
Gordon Ryan Biography
Born on 8th July 1995, in Monroe New Jersey, United States, Gordon Ryan is one of Jiu-Jitsu’s biggest names right now. At the age of 15, Gordon was introduced to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu by Miguel Benitez. Soon after he would train under the legendary former UFC fighter Tom DeBlass at his Ocean County Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy.
Just after a few months of training, Gordon was introduced to Garry Tonon. At the time, Gordon was a four striped white belt and Garry had just received his brown belt as was already considered as one of the sports rising talents, and one of DeBlass’ most accomplished and successful students to date.
Over time, the two became close friends and Gordon would regularly attend his classes at his Brunswick BJJ academy. Gordon Ryan would start to develop his successful submission only game under the watchful eye of Tonon.
With the idea of becoming full time in the sport becoming more and more appealing, Gordon Ryan would travel to New York with Garry Tonon to train Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu with another one of his mentors, John Danaher, head coach of the infamous Renzo Gracie Academy. Now training under Danaher, Gordon would start to develop the Ashi Garami game that made Danaher’s previous students so successful.
After a 6 month tear up at brown belt and winning the IBJJF NoGi World Championships, Gordon was awarded his Black Belt by Garry Tonon on February 2016, under the watchful eye of their head instructors Tom DeBlass, John Danaher and Ricardo Almeida.
Eddie Bravo Invitational Breakout
After receiving his Black Belt in February, Gordon Ryan would go on to compete at the 6th instalment of the Eddie Bravo Invitational, alongside his teammate Garry Tonon, who was already a 2-time champion. Gordon Ryan’s first opponent was American Black Belt Jacen Flynn, who was dispatched by Gordon with a Rear Naked Choke.
Gordon would then go through to the Semi finals after beating Brazilian Marcello Salazar with a Knee Bar, where he would meet Caio Terra black belt Yuri Simoes. Gordon Ryan would be avenging his friend’s loss to Yuri in the previous round by finishing with a Rear Naked Choke in the overtime round to progress to the final.
Gordon would then go on to win the final with a Rear Naked Choke in overtime against a tough Russian opponent Rustam Chsiev.
Winning EBI 6 was a huge platform for Gordon Ryan, who would go on to win the middleweight title at EBI 8 and retain his absolute title at EBI 14 in a tough match against Australian Grappler Craig Jones.
King of the ADCC
In September 2017 Gordon Ryan would be invited to compete at the Prestigious ADCC World Championship event held in Finland. After a massive physical transformation, he would be competing in the 88kg division. Ryan would have some tough opponents if he wanted to be crowned king. Ryan would go on to win the 88kg division by submitting every single one of his opponents and winning the final with an arm-in guillotine against American grappler Keenan Cornelius to become the 88kg ADCC World Champion.
Gordon Ryan would then look to solidify his reign in the Absolutes, where he would face Roberto ‘Cyborg’ Abreu in the first round, finishing him with a heel hook. In the Absolute quarter-finals Ryan would face Craig Jones, who had already made a name for himself at this year’s ADCC. Craig Jones would succumb to an Arm Triangle from Gordon Ryan, and Gordon would progress to the semis, where he submitted Mahamed Aly with a heel hook.
In the finals of the Absolute division, Gordon would go up against the ferocious Felipe Pena, the 99kg Silver Medalist, who had previously submitted Marcus ‘Buchecha’ Almeida with a Rear Naked Choke.
Sadly Pena got the best of Ryan in the final and he would have the settle for 2nd place in the absolutes. Not bad for a first outing, where he submitted 5 opponents to become number 5 on the all-time highest ADCC submission list.
The story of Gordon Ryan at the ADCC is a completely different story. The Danaher Death Squad alumni would look to avenge his loss in the 2017 absolutes, despite not being able to compete against Felipe Pena, who would go on to compete against Andre Galvao in the superfight.
Gordon would turn up to the event with his left hand fully bandaged up, which would transpire that he injured it when trying to carry one of his motorised bikes where his hand got caught between the wheel and the fender, injuring it significantly.
Despite that Gordon would go on to compete in the under 99kg where he would go on to defeated Vinicius Gazola to become the under 99kg world champion.
Then he had his sights set on Absolute gold, where he would tear through the division, including submitting his fellow teammate and mentor Garry Tonon, to ultimately defeat Buchecha to become the AbsoluteADCC World Champion
From Rags to Riches
Gordon Ryan is undoubtedly one of the best modern-day grapplers of our time. His meteoric rise through our sport saw him start Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and gain his black belt in just 5 years. A rare feat. that few have accomplished. This Black Belt isn’t just any black belt though, it was awarded to him by his good friend and training partner Garry Tonon, under the watchful eyes of one of the greatest grappling coaches and evil genius’ of our time, John Danaher.
But it’s not just Gordon Ryan’s grappling that sets him out from other, while most grapplers let their results do the talking and will happily slink along in the shadows, Gordon wears his heart on his sleeve, when it comes to his opinions, on himself, on grappling and other people. This sometimes ends him up in hot water, but it never fails to add to the personality of ‘King’ Gordon Ryan.
However, not many people know the full story of Gordon Ryan, and recently on his Instagram stories, he decided to lay it all out for people to read. Many think of him as a privileged kid from New Jersey, who was lucky enough to train Jiu-Jitsu full-time but this story paints another picture.
“Here’s a [bit of] background on me. I was born in 1995 into a very nice home in NJ. My parents had moved into my grandparents house (on my dad’s side) and they tore down the entire house in the mid 30s and invested every penny they ever had into building a new one. My mom was pregnant with me and her and my dad built a 5000 sq ft house with 4 garages, 5 bedrooms, and 7 baths. Her, my dad and their friend build the house from the ground up by themselves.
When I was 7-years-old my parents and my grandparents got into a legal debate and because my parents didn’t have their names on the deed to the house, we got kicked out. My parents at 40 years old, having invested their entire savings into the house, 2 kids (me, 7, and Nicky, 1) got kicked out on the street with nothing. No money from the house, no settlement, no nothing. They have to start life over.
For the next 10 years, they did everything they could to keep a roof over their head and food in our mouths. But the life we lived was far from luxurious. They couldn’t afford to pay for Jiu-Jitsu, so I had used my savings from birthday and X-Mas from previous years to pay for training.
At 17, when I could finally drive, I got a job at a yoghurt store so I could afford my car payment and the rest of my bills. At 18 I didn’t have enough money after high school to make it to the city to train or keep paying bills, so I started working at DPW throwing grass bags in the back of a truck for 40 hours a week, and training at night with Garry [Tonon] after. I did this for 1 year. Then I had enough money to support myself to be able to get to the city and train fulltime. Carry wouldn’t let me pay for travel into the city, but I was always ready to pay if need be.
At 18 and a half, I realised I didn’t have enough money saved so I went back to work for the summer (5 months) to save more money so I could train full-time. At late 18, early 19, I started training full time in the city with John Danaher as a pro, training twice a day, every day in the city. and commuting 1000 miles a week, back and forth.
I was fortunate enough to be able to save money while living at home. But granted, I wasn’t able to do that one my own and pay all of my bills, [but] I would have made it work.
At 20, I was legitimately able to survive on my own. I was able to pay for everything, and do everything, I had to be a real adult. Not because I was lucky, or because I grew up white and privileged. Because I worked my fucking ass off to get somewhere in live. I have been working 12-18 hours a day, 365 days a year, for the past 5 years straight. Why? Because I don’t wanna be like everyone else. If course I had amazing parents and they did everything the could to help me.
But that doesn’t change the fact that even if I grew up in an impoverished area in the middle of nowhere, that I would still find a way to be incredibly successful. Life isn’t about how to cards are dealt, It’s about how you play the hand. if you wanna be successful, or even just live a decent life. Otherwise, you’ll just sit around and feel sorry for yourself, like most people.
So the next time and of you losers say ‘you’re lucky this and that, you’re privileged’ think about this. My family was kicked out onto the street with nothing but debt at 40 years old and they found a way to stay off the streets and support 2 kids. I refused X-Mas gifts when I was 15 to train bjj and have been working like a dog since 17. Of course I don’t have empathy for people who don’t help themselves. Because, it’s simple, the world doesn’t care about you. If you wanna make it in life then get the fuck up and do something.”
The Future For The King
The future for the king is the kimono, Gordon Ryan has already stated that he will be focusing his next efforts on obtaining IBJJF World Championship gold. We can only say “It’s going to be a bad day for the haters”.
In 2021 Gordon Ryan would announce that he would step down from competitive competition due to ongoing stomach issues that have plagued him the last few years.
The ADCC World Champion has also announced that he will be opening his own gym with his mentor John Danaher in Puerto Rico, where the Danaher Death Squad are currently based.
Gordon also is one of the most successful grapplers in the world, featuring number hit instructional on BJJ Fanatics as well as being the highest-paid professional grappler in the world.
- Winner – Who’s Number One (Superfight)
- Winner – Who’s Number One (Superfight)
- Winner – Third Coast Grappling: Kumite IV (Superfight)
- Winner – Who’s Number One (Superfight)
- Winner – Grappling Industries: Arnold Classic (Absolute)
- Winner – BJJ Fanatics (Superfight)
- Winner – Sub Stars (Superfight)
- Winner – Submission Underground 10 (Superfight)
- Winner – Quintet Ultra (Superfight)
- Winner – Third Coast Grappling 3 (Superfight)
- Winner – World Jiu-Jitsu Festival (Superfight)
- Winner – ADCC 2019 World Championship (Absolute)
- Winner – ADCC 2019 World Championship (–99 kg)
- Winner – Kinektic 1 (with Team BJJ Fanatics)
1st place, gold medalist(s) Kasai Super Series 1 (Superfight)2018
- Winner – IBJJF Nogi World Championships (Black Belt Absolute)
- Winner – IBJJF Nogi World Championships (Black Belt +97.5 kg)
- Winner – Quintet 3 (with Team Alpha Male)
- Winner – IBJJF Pan Nogi (Black Belt Absolute)
1st place, gold medalist(s) IBJJF Pan Nogi (Black Belt +97.5 kg)2017
- Winner – Kasai Pro (Superfight)
- Winner – Eddie Bravo Invitational 14 (Absolute)
- Winner – Metamoris 8 (Superfight)
- Silver – ADCC 2017 World Championship (Absolute)
- Winner – ADCC 2017 World Championship (-88kg)
- Winner – Grappling Industries (Absolute)
- Winner – Fight2Win 34 (Superfight)
- Winner – Fight2Win 30 (Superfight)
- Winner – Eddie Bravo Invitational 11 (-170lbs)
- Winner – Submission Underground (Superfight)
- Winner – Sapteiro 6 (Absolute)
- Winner – Sapteiro 5 (Superfight)
- Winner – Eddie Bravo Invitational 8 (-185lbs)
- Winner – Grappling Industries (Superfight)
- Winner – Eddie Bravo Invitational 6 (Absolute)
- Winner – Portland Sunday Open (Absolute)
- Winner – Onnit Invitational 2 (Superfight)
- Winner – Goodfight Pro 2 (-77kg)
- Winner – Sapteiro 1 (Absolute)
- Winner – Grappling Industries Montreal (Absolute)
- Winner – Goodfight All-Star (-170lbs)
- Winner – IBJJF Nogi World Championships (Brown Belt -73.5kg)
- Winner – United Grappling Association: Fall Open (Superfight)
- Winner – Newaza Challenge (Absolute)
- Winner – United Grappling Association: Summer Open (Superfight)
- Winner – Grapplers Quest: All-Star (-185lbs)
- Winner – Kumite Classic (Absolute)
- Winner – Kumite Classic (-185lbs)
- Silver – ADCC East Coast Trials (-88kg)
- Winner – NAGA World Championship (Gi Purple Belt -170lbs)
- Winner – NAGA World Championship (Expert Nogi -170lbs)
- Winner – United Grappling Association: Spring Open (Superfight)
- Winner – PGL XI (Superfight)
- Winner – PGL IV (-155lbs)
- Silver – AGL 4 (Absolute)
- Winner – AGL 4 (-155lbs)
- Winner – AGL 3 (Superfight)