Gordon Ryan talks rolling with Thor Bjornsson: “I literally grappled the strongest person on the planet and I promise you Jiu Jitsu works”

BJJ is a martial art founded on the principle in which a smaller person should be enabled to deal with a much bigger opponent. And while this is very much still a fact, at least when it comes to an unskilled opponent, we don’t often see it challenged.

Early on the Gracie family reportedly recruited Royce Gracie over his plain average man looks and lack of a storied history for the UFC in order to make it clear to the general audiences that BJJ can be for everybody.

One person to test this premise was ADCC medalist Gordon Ryan. Ryan has been racking up medals and building up his physique over the course of the last five years but Ryan still isn’t a giant by Strongman standards.

Ahead of his performance at the UFC invitational 3, he got to share the mats with actual strongmen in Thor Bjornsson and Martins Licis.

This was also a risky choice considering he had a competition to get to  – and Bjornsson already accidentally derailed the UFC career of Gunnar Nelson with an impromptu grappling session.

Ryan discussed the viral videos in his recent appearance on the Food truck diaries:

“This is good because when I meet, like, a regular person who they just people are like’ Oh men, If the guy was just way bigger, it would never work,’.”

“Now I can say I literally grappled the strongest person on the planet. And I promise you, jiu jitsu works.”


“I let Thor start inside control like full inside position. He’s got everything like my arm shelfed and I’m like, All right, go. That’s all I got. I escape, I sweep home, and then I get up submitting him. And he’s like, Man, it’s like, I don’t know what just happened.”

“Martins is like, a lot more compact than Thor and really a fire hydrant. He’s got, like, some instincts because he used to wrestle whereas Thore never really grappled. So Martin’s like, locked inside control, like, oh man, this is going to be worse. ”

“So I escape Martins’ Side Control, we start wrestling and he’s like freaking out.”

“I have him like all good positions. He’s just like Ragdolled me around the mat and then like 30 seconds later, he gets so tired, he’s like, Oh, man, I’m done. Like, that was it. ”