The Rise of the Ryans: Nicky Ryan’s First Invitational Match

A short while ago, the name Gordon Ryan meant nothing to the jiu-jitsu community.  I distinctly remember hearing about him coming out to Western Pennsylvania and demolishing absolute brackets like it wasn’t a big deal.

Now, in September 2016, Gordon Ryan is one of the biggest names in jiu-jitsu.  And if the rumors are true, the jiu-jitsu community hasn’t seen the most talented grappler from the Ryan family – Gordon’s little brother, Nicky Ryan, who is about to make his invitational debut.

nicky ryan

I had an opportunity to talk to Nicky, who has been training under the direct tutelage of jiu-jitsu mastermind John Danaher since December 2014, and I learned a bit about the high school sophomore phenom:

“My brother got me into jiu-jitsu and ever since I started training, I’ve been going to every session with him”

Nicky Ryan is so young and has so much untapped potential that he is shaping his life around his jiu jitsu training, even as a young teenager.

“I just finished my freshman [year] of high school and instead of going back to public school this year, I will have Danaher home school me so that I can train in the city every day.  I started learning all of the submissions right off the bat because my brother and Garry felt that I was mature enough to handle them and I was already past the age of 12, which is when John says that you should start learning submissions”

Nicky first made waves when some footage of him competing in an adult absolute division went viral.  Nicky heel hooked his way to victory. At the time, he was only 13 years old and hadn’t been training for very long at all.  You can watch this amazing footage here:

On October 8, Nicky will be entering new territory, competing in a special invitational super fight held at the Canadian Kumite Invitational Tournament being put on by Submission Series Pro.  He will be facing off against a game opponent in Danny An Khoi Vu.  Danny is a purple belt competitor with many wins under his belt, so Nicky will have his hands full.

I was interested to learn Nicky’s thoughts about the match-up.

“I plan to push the pace and constantly attack my opponent with whatever submissions that he gives me”

Simple enough.  When one faces a member of the Danaher Death Squad, leg lock attacks are a predictable worry for a competitor.  Nicky does have other tools in his tool box that fans may get to see come into play.

“I also like strangles from the back, side triangles [variation of the triangle with your legs but your are to the side of your opponent with a kimura grip. It is used more in judo to pin people than it is in jiu jitsu to submit people,] back triangles, and guillotines.”

Like his older brother, don’t expect to see Nicky clamoring to the IBJJF scene. He shares Gordon’s disdain for that competition format

“I don’t like the IBJJF for two main reasons: One, they don’t offer money for no-gi; and two, they ban the most effective lower body submission and discourage submitting people in general”

In closing Nicky had a few shoutouts

“I would [like] to shout out and thank my sponsor Phalanx for all of their support and Cat Clarke for giving me the opportunity to compete on his upcoming event, and also a thank you to my coaches, Gordon, Garry, and John”

You can tune in on October 8 and watch the already stacked lineup featuring competitors like Dante Leon, EBI participant Rustam Chsiev, and many more.

Check out the event’s website here


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here