Yesterday we saw Gracie Barra Black Belt and Romulo Barrel protege Felipe "Preguica" Pena hand the self proclaimed "King" of grappling Gordon Ryan his first loss in submission only EBI rules. Ryan and the other Danaher "death squad" had looked almost unbeatable in their respected rule set competition until recently. First Eddie Cummings was bested in overtime by Eddie Bravo Black Belt Geo Martinez. Next the same happeed to 16 year old Nicky Ryan, also in overtime. In the final match of yesterdays event at Studio 540, we saw the trash talking Gordon Ryan get submitted by multiple time jiu jitsu World Champion Felipe Pena. This was a great win for Pena as Gordon who issued the challenge, chose the rules and the location, to one that gave him all the advantages. The Danaher boys are well known for calling people out in matches, but governing exactly what rule set will apply. which is always most suitable to them as its the main style they train for.
In a small niche sport like Jiu Jitsu we are used to seeing grapplers compete in all facets of the sport. Ibjjf, Copa podio, Metamoris, ADCC and now with the popularity of EBI growing, we see a trend for "no gi submission only"-style of grappling. This is great for the Danher guys as that's their speciality, but we rarely see them step outside their comfort zones to compete against all the other greats in Jiu Jitsu, particularly in IBJJF Gi-format. This is unfortunate as a spectator because there are some interesting match-ups we would like to see in a Gi, besides No Gi Submission only.
Regardless, yesterday showed us that you don't have to specialise in one style of grappling to dominate it. It will be interesting to see how the Danaher squad bounces back after this, since there is a massive psychological aspect to competition. Most fights are won before they are even fought. With the confidence of the Death squad taking a hit, we will see the confidence of other challengers grow. A great example of this was set in 1954 when Roger Bannister ran, what was believed to be impossible, the 4 minute Mile. Never in history before that had anyone achieved it, and most believed that it wasn't humanly possibly. until that day. What was so interesting was that just a year after Rogers achievement, someone else ackomplished the same. Then so did another and another, until now when it is looked as a requirement among runners to be able to run the mile in under 4 minutes. I know a lot of grapplers will look at the recent Jiu Jitsu matches with the same idea. They see it can be done and this may open the flood gates.
After the match against Ryan Felipe posted this on his Facebook.
"I accepted Gordon Ryan's Challenge in the rules, in the place and in the way he chose. I stay quiet for everything he said and posted before. Each one has personality and I am not the guy who will be doing the trash talk. I prefer to keep to myself and put on a show on the day of the fight! But now the fight is over I would like to challenge him as he does with everyone for a kimono fight where the winner will take $20,000 DOLLARS! I hope he accepts as I did."
I believe the last competition Ryan fought in, in the Gi, he was finished by Tommy Langaker. Do you think we will get to see a rematch in the GI with Pena? I surely hope so. Only time will tell.