A date and opponent for Gordon Ryan‘s ONE Championship debut has just been announced.
ONE Championship founder and CEO Chatri Sityodtong has revealed on social media that Ryan will be taking on fellow grappling legend Shinya Aoki in an open-weight grappling “super match” on August 27 this year.
Aoki, a two-time former lightweight champion for the promotion, is one of the most famous grappling-focused fighters in MMA, with 31 of his 47 wins in MMA coming by way of submission. He’s claimed multiple titles for multiple promotions throughout his career, including DREAM and Shooto. He most recently got a round-one armbar win against Eduard Folayang, marking his fourth consecutive victory.
Ryan won double-gold at ADCC in 2019 and has been on a winning streak since 2018, also claiming double-gold at No-Gi Worlds and No-Gi Pans along the way. His two competitive appearances in 2021, both for Who’s Number One, have ended with him on the winning end of submissions. There will, of course, be a significant weight disparity between these two; Aoki is a lightweight, while Ryan’s divisional ADCC win took place at 99kg.
Ryan signed with ONE back in March, with Sityodtong saying that he would be competing in both submission grappling and MMA.
Aoki also went up against Ryan’s teammate, fellow ONE Championship fighter Garry Tonon, in the promotion’s first sub-only grappling super match back in 2017. Tonon won with a heel hook about halfway through their 15-minute match.