Gordon Ryan Breaks Down Who’s Number One: Craig Jones vs. Luiz Panza

Although Gordon Ryan has taken an indefinite leave of absence from competition, that doesn’t mean he’s entirely off the scene. Shortly before Friday’s Who’s Number One (WNO) event, Ryan sat down with FloGrappling to break down his favorite matches on the card, which features a main event between Craig Jones and Luiz Panza.

In the main event, Ryan is naturally siding with his teammate Craig Jones over Luiz Panza. Ryan had been initially slated to face Panza before he was forced to withdraw due to ongoing health concerns. He was quick to praise Panza for his submission-hunting approach and sees a fun main event coming up.

“People love to see guys who go out to search for finishes, and I think Panza is gonna be going for the finish and Craig obviously is always going for the finish… I think it will play out almost as if it was me fighting him,” Ryan said.

Ryan also discussed his younger brother Nicky Ryan’s match against Gabriel Almeida. He believes Nicky will show improvement from his last match — a close decision win over PJ Barch. He also thinks that Nicky will continue to improve with more competition experience.

“I think he’s gonna be coming to prove that he’s better than his last performance…” Ryan said. “Nicky is one of the up and coming guys who can beat anybody in the world, just based on his technique, but has to get those tactical nuances added into his game before he can really shine through and demolish the best guys.”

And in typical Gordon Ryan fashion, he wasn’t afraid to voice his feelings about a competitor that rubs him the wrong way.

“I’m excited for [Josh] Hinger versus Vagner [Rocha], just because I think Vagner is gonna beat him pretty easily, and I like to see Hinger lose. That’s one I’m excited for.”

How to watch: WNO takes place on Friday, May 28 and will air live on FloGrappling (subscription required).

Ben Coate

Ben has been involved with grappling, whether through wrestling or Brazilian jiu-jitsu, essentially his entire life. After wrestling throughout his childhood, Ben found Brazilian jiu-jitsu as a young adult and quickly fell in love. He has been training for over ten years and currently holds the rank of brown belt, and remains involved in both the MMA and BJJ scene. Ben has been writing about combat sports since 2017. He has interviewed and profiled some of MMA's biggest stars, including multiple UFC champions.

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