Gordon Ryan returns against former opponent Patrick Gaudio at WNO 20

Gordon Ryan will defend his WNO heavyweight title against former opponent Patrick Gaudio at WNO 20.

Reigning Who’s Number One (WNO) heavyweight champion Gordon Ryan’s return to action is officially on the calendar.

On Sunday, October 1, at WNO 20, Ryan will defend his belt against former foe Patrick Gaudio, per FloGrappling.

Regarded by many as the world’s top pound-for-pound no-gi grappler, Ryan has been out of competition since December 2022, citing ongoing stomach and health issues. In his most recent outing, he defeated former Danaher Death Squad teammate Nick Rodriguez at the Fight Pass Invitational.

Ryan captured the WNO heavyweight title in July 2022 when he submitted top light heavyweight Pedro Marinho

The longtime John Danaher student was slated to return for a much-anticipated fourth match against rival Pena in February 2023 but withdrew from the event just days prior due to health issues.

Ryan will come into the matchup riding an incredible winning streak that dates back to 2018. 

Gaudio, meanwhile, has lost three in a row and his last two matches by submission. A 2020 IBJJF European Open champion in the gi, Gaudio is a two-time ADCC veteran. At the 2022 ADCC World Championships, he competed in the 99kg division and suffered a first-round defeat via decision against Checkmat product Elder Cruz.

Ryan and Gaudio have squared off once before, in the quarterfinals of the absolute division at the 2018 IBJJF No-Gi Worlds. In that contest, Gaudio gave Ryan one of his stiffest tests to date, narrowly losing by a last-second advantage.

For many, Gaudio will be a surprising opponent for Ryan’s return to competition. Despite their history, the two competitors now find themselves at very different stages of their respective careers, as Ryan is undeniably the planet’s top heavyweight, while Gaudio’s most recent notable victory is a 2022 triangle win over Haisam Rida.

Beyond Gaudio, Ryan enjoys no shortage of potential contenders whom fans might have expected him to face, including Pena, Rodriguez, or former teammate Craig Jones.

How to watch: WNO 20: Gordon Ryan vs. Patrick Gaudio takes place on Sunday, October 1, 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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