Gordon Ryan’s dominance in BJJ has always intrigued MMA fans. Every now and threads pop up online debating how Ryan’s skill would translate to mixed martial arts.
Ryan recently made his first ever appearance on the MMA Hour and had an interesting conversation with Ariel Helwani.
Helwani seemed intrigued by Ryan’s BJJ debut on the UFC Grappling invitational. One big revelation from that part of the conversation was that UFC didn’t secure a long term deal with Ryan, nor an exclusive one – it was a one off.
Ryan shared that there’s a war behind the scenes now to lock in most promising grapplers to streaming service exclusive contracts – between UFC, ONE FC and BJJ’s failing streamer Flograppling.
“John is like, absolutely, do not go into MMA” – Ryan told Helwani.
“He’s like, You already make a ton of money doing this. You’re considered the greatest of all time already. And it is about to become mainstream. And once it becomes mainstream, you know, everyone’s going to get paid more. And, you know, BJJ is going to be like a real sport, and you’re the forefront of that.”
“And if you move to MMA now, that that could be lost. So I don’t know, maybe if one of the other guys wins from the team wins an ADCC absolute or something. I’ve always wanted to fight MMA, but I’m in such a good position now and I feel like it’s kind of my job to kind of push jujitsu over the hump into mainstream.”
“So I’m not totally ruling it out, but I’m pretty comfortable just grappling right now.”
Ryan went on to reveal there was interest from Bellator in 2019, when he was actually training MMA – but it was all sidelined once he hurt his knee and required surgery.
“So I was actually going to start fighting in 2019. I was actually getting ready. I was sparring. I was actually getting ready. I was, I went to a Bellator event and I was talking to some guys from Bellator. I was talking to one about about fighting in May and then in 2019, right in the beginning of the year, I fought Joel Gabriel Roche and I tore my LCL and I had to have surgery on my LCL.”
“So the second I came back from LCL surgery, the focus wasn’t a MMA anymore. It was I was I was hopping into a camp for ADCC because we had 2019 ADCC at the end of the year. So like seven months off surgery, I had to compete in ADCC. So that was the focus. And then I won the absolute.”
“So now I’m looking forward to 2021 ADCC where I have to fight Andre (Galvao), which ends up being 2022. And I just kept getting like roped back into jujitsu, like, oh, there’s something more I have to do jujitsu before I can leave, you know?”
“And now I’m at a point where, you know, I don’t have to leave. I make more money than most UFC champions.”
“And, you know, there’s no reason for me to get punched in the head every day and go to then have to fight.”
Helwani was stumped by the revelation and asked if it was a BJJ wide phenomenon or just Ryan.
“Oh, no, that’s Gordon Ryan exclusive. I think. Like it’s like it I’m like the Mayweather or McGregor, I guess of jiu jitsu. I mean, I don’t make nearly as much money as they, but like in proportion to the rest of the guys.”
Ryan went on to explain that he makes 7 figures competing yearly – but most of his money still comes from instructionals:
“Like I think that an athlete in Jitsu in the next 5 to 10 years should be making over $1,000,000 a year or just competing. We can do that. I think that I think we’ll have something going for us.”
“I’m pretty pretty far off um but uh in a year I’m making over seven figures competing for sure.”