Roger Gracie is widely considered one of the greatest grapplers of all time. Gracie belongs to a previous generation of grapplers and was active from early 2000s up to 2010s with a single exhibition in 2017.
But going even further, Gracie was active in both Gi and Nogi jiu-jitsu as well as MMA.
For those unaware, there’s a certain animosity in the last decade between jiu-jitsu schools that favor the sport without kimono whereas most traditional schools either do just gi or both. The accent on nogi gave birth to a new generation of grapplers – notably Gordon Ryan.
Ryan emerged after an unexpected win at EBI absolutes roughly 6 years ago and has dominated in competition since – having lost only 2 bouts. This is a particularly good record in bjj where it’s much easier to get caught by a decision or a fringe ruleset considering there’s no one predominant ruleset. Many promotions have their own modalities.
But many online commenters still begrudge the fact that Ryan has never competed in the gi – despite having announced he would attempt to in the past and backtracking soon after.
So where does the widely accepted GOAT, Roger Gracie stand on this? Gracie was asked just this in a recent interview with Antunes and shared:
“Roger, do you think Gordon Ryan can be the biggest name in grappling history?”
“I think he can.”
“He’s already making history in nogi.”If I analyze well, who is there to stop him?”
“Who are the names of those who wanted to fight him? that you think have a good chance of beating him?”
“I think there are several athletes in Jiu-Jitsu who obviously have a chance of winning him in no gi I think it’s a fight, no one is invincible.”
“But if you stop to think about a name that has great chances of winning, would he be the favorite?”
“I don’t see it.”
“I think any fight he’s going to fight now, from my point of view, he’s going to be the favorite.
I don’t see anyone who would be the favorite in a fight against him.”