Grappling star Garry ‘Lion Killer’ Tonon will make his professional mixed martial arts debut with ONE Championship, the organization announced today (October 16).
The Brazilian jiu-jitsu champion is a fixture of global grappling tournaments and widely-considered one of the best submission grapplers in history. Earlier this year he took on Japanese mixed martial arts legend Shinya Aoki in ONE Championship’s first ever grappling super match. It is not yet known when he will make his official pro MMA debut.
“Garry is an amazing individual with a long list of accolades in submission grappling,” Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, said. “I have no doubt that his transition to the ONE Championship cage will be a successful one. Fans have a lot to look forward to when Garry finally makes his debut with us.”
Tonon, 26, is from New Jersey and began wrestling in primary school, competing as an amateur, before being introduced to Brazilian jiu-jitsu at the age of 14. Under the tutelage of coach Tom deBlass and the legendary Ricardo Almeida, Tonon would go on to win multiple IBJJF No-Gi world championships in different belts.
In September 2013, deBlass and Almeida awarded Tonon a black belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu. Tonon would later win multiple titles at the Eddie Bravo Invitational (EBI) and Metamoris professional grappling leagues.
“I am thrilled to be able to finally announce my arrival in ONE Championship,” said Tonon. “It is the natural evolution in my career as a grappler. I have achieved all that I have set out to do in the world of jiu-jitsu, and now I am ready to take on a new challenge. I am excited to begin my ONE Championship career, and proud to showcase my skills on the biggest global stage of competition.”