When UFC’s Khamzat Chimaev called out Gordon Ryan

UFC star Khamzat Chimaev has been making waves recently with his announced return to the octagon, against Robert Whittaker at UFC Saudi Arabia. But prior to that he was also making waves  with his interest in grappling and Brazilian jiu-jitsu. The Chechen-born Swede, who holds a purple belt in BJJ, has been spotted working diligently on his gi game in preparation for potential future grappling matches.

In a surprising callout, Chimaev previously challenged none other than Gordon Ryan, one of the most accomplished no-gi grapplers of all time, to a grappling match outside of the UFC.

“I’m coming for him. Ryan? What’s his name? Gordon Ryan, brother. You got sick. Soon I hope you get healthy and I met you brother, on the mats.”

The challenge is certainly an audacious one, as Ryan stands head and shoulders above most grapplers with his incredible resume of wins at the highest levels of competition. However, Chimaev’s coach, Alan Finfou, has been on a self-proclaimed mission to “expose fake black belts in Brazilian jiu-jitsu in the MMA scenario”, suggesting that the team believes many high-level belts have been awarded without the requisite skills.


Finfou’s criticism has found support from UFC lightweight champion Islam Makhachev and Volkanovski’s BJJ cornerman Craig Jones, both of whom agree that the black belt standard in BJJ has diminished.

With Chimaev’s impressive grappling displays in training and his prior wrestling accomplishments, a match against Gordon Ryan could serve as the ultimate litmus test for the legitimacy of his skills.

Of course, the significant size discrepancy – Chimaev walks around at around at least 200 pounds while Ryan’s weight has fluctuated greatly due to health issues – adds an extra layer of intrigue to the potential matchup.

Regardless, Khamzat Chimaev’s callout of Gordon Ryan signals his ambition to test himself against the very best grapplers in the world, and could spark further crossover matches between MMA fighters and elite BJJ athletes.