He’s brash. He’s outspoken. He’s unapologetic. Gordon Ryan is unabashedly all of those things, but he’s also the best grappler in the world. With a seven-figure contract with FloSports recently signed, Gordon Ryan is finally being paid the kind of money where he really feels like a professional athlete. The 27-year-old Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt is set to compete against rival Felipe Pena on February 25th, in his first match under the deal. Gordon Ryan has also released a training series on BJJ Fanatics.
A Sustainable Living for Grapplers
Gordon has long dreamed about the day when grapplers could make a sustainable living by just engaging in competitions without the need to supplement income with teaching or owning a gym. Gordon Ryan told MMA Fighting, “I remember when I started training, in order to win any money grappling you had a win a Grappler’s Quest absolute and it was like three ADCC champions in the bracket, and if you won, you won like $1,000 bucks.”
The Growth of Grappling
Now, with more eyes on the sport, the more celebrities that are training, and the ADCC Submission Fighting World Championship moving to UFC Fight Pass, grappling is growing into a mainstream and worldwide sport. Ryan is excited about the progress that has been made in a short amount of time.
Resistance and Recognition
For the longest time, Gordon Ryan felt like he was almost fighting a losing battle as he tried to bring more attention to grappling while employing promotional tactics off the mat that felt closer to UFC superstar Conor McGregor than Brazilian jiu-jitsu luminaries who preceded him. Now, with this million-dollar deal in place, Gordon believes grappling is finally starting to earn the worldwide recognition that he’s always wanted.
A Massive Target on His Back
Signing such a lucrative deal also puts a massive target on Gordon’s back, but that’s really nothing new to him. As a multi-time grappling champion with a long list of accomplishments on his résumé, Gordon Ryan already knows every opponent he faces wants to be the one to end his five-year unbeaten streak.
Embracing the Pressure
Now that desire will only intensify and Gordon Ryan welcomes it. “It feels like every match I do, the whole world or at least the whole jiu-jitsu world is watching” Ryan said. “Every match is the biggest match of my life because I know if I lose, it’s going to be a national news story. I know any time I compete, all eyes are on me, for good or for bad. That kind of puts the pressure on me, which I like. I always do better under pressure.”
Gordon Ryan also admits that his performances are going to be graded on a different scale and that raises expectations every time he competes moving forward. That might rattle some people but Ryan has learned to embrace it. “I hold myself to the same standard as these people who don’t like me. That just makes it more fun. It makes me more dedicated, more hungry,” Ryan said.
Gordon Ryan, with his recent seven-figure contract, is leading the way for grapplers to make a sustainable living. With the growth of the sport and its increasing recognition, Ryan welcomes the pressure and raised expectations as he continues to pave the way for grapplers worldwide.
There has never been a better time than now to begin your BJJ journey and you should read our top 10 tips for newcomers.