‘Sounds like he’s scared’ – Nick Rodriguez sounds off on beef with Gordon Ryan

Nick Rodriguez spoke to Grappling Insider about his call-out of and beef with former teammate Gordon Ryan.

Last week, at the UFC Fight Pass Invitational 4, the B-Team’s Nick Rodriguez put on a stellar performance, defeating Roberto Jimenez, Vagner Rocha, and “Big” Dan Manasoiu to win an eight-man EBI-rules absolute tournament and $30,000.

Immediately after winning his final match, Rodriguez uses his mic time to call for a USADA-tested EBI-rules match against former opponent and teammate Gordon Ryan.

“The Black Belt Slayer” recently sat down with Grappling Insider to discuss his beef with Ryan, steroids and PEDs in the sport of grappling, and much more.

After the call-out, Ryan directly declined the match, stating that steroids are not illegal in jiu-jitsu and Rodriguez is not in a position to call the shots.

Rodriguez says that if Ryan trusts in his technique as much as he claims, he should be willing to compete as a natural athlete:

“[Gordon Ryan] said no but there’s part of me that thinks he might accept it. Either way, if he fully declines, at least everybody knows that he fully declined a match with me and that doesn’t make him look good. His whole spiel is technique is very valuable. He’s like, ‘Oh I teach the best technique, whether you’re big and strong or small and not as strong, you can use it.’ But it’s like, alright, well why are you taking gear to be stronger? If your jiu-jitsu is that good, take the Lachlan Giles route and sub the big dudes without needing all the extracurriculars.”

According to Rodriguez, he doesn’t need to worry about peaking for competition, unlike grapplers who rely on steroids to boost their performance.

The key, he says, is living a consistently healthy lifestyle each and every day:

“These guys talk about peaking for competition. I peak every day. I’m consistent and that’s why I’m so much better than all these guys. It’s because I’m not [just] good when I’m on this climb up toward competition, I’m there all year round. Where these guys are going through these ups and downs because of their substance abuse and I’m just on a steady incline all year long, so I think that’s what really sets me apart. I’m just really consistent in the lifestyle I live.”

Rodriguez most recently competed against Ryan last December at the UFC Fight Pass Invitational 3, losing via ride time in overtime. It was his second consecutive defeat to the multiple-time ADCC champion, but despite the loss, achieved the most effective offense during the match when he popped Ryan’s ankle with a toe-hold.

Earlier this year, the beef between the two former teammates escalated when Ryan accused Rodriguez of using PEDs. In response, Rodriguez submitted to a drug test and was subsequently deemed to be a natural athlete by the popular YouTube channel “More Plates More Dates.”

Rodriguez says that Ryan is “psychologically unwell,” forcing him to pull out of a highly anticipated fourth match against rival Felipe Pena. Rodriguez served as a late-notice replacement for Ryan and dropped a narrow decision.

“He had this outburst, during the More Plates More Dates thing, we had some people, essentially some spies in his training camp and they’re like, ‘Yeah Gordon had a freakout on the mat, like a temper tantrum during that.’ And soon after, he ends up pulling out of his match. He was a bit psychologically unwell, as well as the lingering of the broken foot that I gave him going into the Pena match so he had a bunch of factors going against him and forced him to essentially pull out of the match and give me a nice paycheck in the meantime.”

Ryan flat-out declined the match against Rodriguez, at least under the proposed stipulations.

Rodriguez says that Ryan won’t take the match because he’s “scared”:

“It sounds like he’s scared, to be honest with you. If you look at the first match, he submits me in a leg lock. And then I get a little bit better, and a couple weeks later I break his foot in a leg lock. It’s like, wow, he has this realization that Nicky Rod’s right there, Nick Rod’s better than him. That’s the real issue that he’s facing. 

“Even though I’m just an inexperienced brown belt I’m able to get in these jiu-jitsu situations with the all-time GOAT, Gordon, and break him there and break him badly, so much so that he ended up retiring after our match. That tells me that in our last match… Nicky Rod was able to not only break his foot physically but also break his spirit mentally. I think this guy is down in the dumps. He’s been in a spiral of depression in the past few months… After our match, his life is going downhill fast, and that’s all thanks to me.”

Ryan downplayed Rodriguez’s tournament-winning performance at the UFC Fight Pass Invitational, even though Rodriguez defeated Ryan’s teammate “Big” Dan Manasoiu in the final.

Rodriguez says that by calling Manasoiu a “junior” team member, he’s putting down his own teammate, which is a reflection of his character:

“Gordon hates B-Team and Nicky Rod so much that he’ll actually talk bad about his teammates to try and make me look bad. Big Dan is a tough guy. He won ADCC trials, he’s an ADCC veteran, and then Gordon’s like, ‘Oh he’s not even on our main roster, he’s our backup.’… You’re gonna say that to your guy, your main training partner that you’re supposed to be friends with and training with? So that just speaks to his character. And it honestly sucks for the up-and-coming guys on that team.”

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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