On Monday’s edition of Morning Kombat, Luke Thomas was asked by a viewer — who wins in a grappling match between Gordon Ryan and Khabib, submission only? Well, I have my own opinion, but let’s check out Thomas’ and Oscar Willis of @TheMacLife below.

Gordon Ryan vs Khabib Nurmagomedov – Who Wins?


“It’s a tough one. There’s MMA grappling and then there’s grappling, grappling right. You’re more up to speed than me about the grappling side of things, but for me it’s just very hard to imagine — Khabib looks monstrously strong, right, even for his weight at 155, he looks like the sort of guy who’s so dense and strong he could outmuscle a middleweight or a light heavyweight even, he looks crazy strong. I remember when Tony [Ferguson] – Khabib was a factor, people thought that Tony’s active guard would somehow get Khabib in trouble. I don’t know if Khabib has ever given anyone enough breathing space to let those sort of attacks happen. So for me, I don’t know how it goes, but I find it hard to imagine, Khabib on top being able to be manipulated when he’s so strong and so adept to just holding people in place.


“The good news is, any type of ruleset is going to change the equation to a degree. If they had MMA rules and they were grappling on the mat, if it was submission only, which he articulates here or points or whatever, the ruleset is going to dictate who is going to have a little more luck than the other in certain cases. But in this particular case and even maybe without it, I’m going to pick Gordon Ryan to win and I’m going to pick him quite handily.

I’ll say this for Khabib, I watched his tutorial that he put out on BJJ Fanatics, which of course is merely a tiny little window into his overall ability and it was interesting. But a lot of what he does is incredible, but a lot of what he does is also a function of feel from day one. Here’s what I mean, he likes to wrestle with his legs against someone else’s legs, we’ve all seen him kind of sit in a mount where his opponent’s back is against the fence and their legs are stretched out in front of them and Khabib is on top. He did it to Conor [McGregor] right? Where he would kind of lace the legs together. One of the things he talks about, he has a few guides to how to control that position, but what he basically also says is, I’ve been sitting in this position for two decades. I’ve been doing this forever, I’ve had a certain kind of muscular feel for this position that I’ve just mastered over time. And he says you’re basically not going to get there unless your work this position. The threat of getting punched is so immediate that you have to use your hands to react to it.

In a submission only grappling match, Gordon Ryan is significantly bigger, he’s going to be well into the 200’s number one. And number two, Gordon Ryan is telling the world in hours long, he did I think eight hours just on half guard entries into sweeps or something. He is putting the blueprint out for his game. He put out an instructional on just all of his ADCC matches from the last ADCC and how he went through and beat all of them. [John] Danaher is also putting out all this New Wave stuff. These guys are literally releasing the blueprint to their contemporaries and they still can’t do shit to him. It’s kind of unbelievable to watch. There was a recent video on Bernardo Faria’s channel on Gordon Ryan, how to get of the body triangle — the level of technical ability and understanding that he shows is far beyond what I have ever seen, at least in no-gi from anybody else. It’s not even close. And I know Gordon Ryan has a lot of views that a lot of people don’t like and that’s fine, but that has nothing to do with what the question is here, operatively assessing just how good Gordon Ryan is.

So I’m going to say, between the size factor and then I think the level of technificity that he employs relative to the muscular kind of position hold that Khabib employs, I think Gordon Ryan would crush him actually.”

My thoughts

Much like Luke stated, I lean Gordon Ryan. I don’t even think it would be a close match-up if I’m being honest. ‘King’ would outweigh Nurmagomedov by a substantial amount, which wouldn’t make a giant difference, due to the fact that submission-only grappling is Ryan’s world. The original question was asking about submission only and I could definitely see Khabib smothering Gordon if he were able to get him to the canvas, but he would not be tapping the best no-gi grappler on the planet out.

Ryan has proven that he is the greatest of all time in the no-gi game. In fact, in my opinion, he could be the greatest jiu-jitsu practitioner of all time. He has come to the point of being able to call his shots. Against a guy like Nurmagomedov, he may not be able to do that because it would be an unpredictable match-up, but he would dominate nonetheless.

What are your thoughts on a match-up between Gordon Ryan vs Khabib Nurmagomedov?


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