In the realm of combat sports, the success rate for transitioning from one discipline to another is quite low. Especially for purist martial artists that are mainly used to either striking or grappling arts, integrating both into a solid MMA game can be quite the challenge.
Multiple-time Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu champion turned professional mixed martial arts fighter Garry Tonon, however, begs to differ. The 26-year-old bonafide member of the “Danaher Death Squad” at the Renzo Gracie Academy in New York City made his MMA debut in late March under the ONE Championship banner.
Tonon faced Filipino fighter Richard Corminal last March 24th at One: Iron Will in Bangkok, Thailand, where he won via second-round TKO, proving that he is can also win via striking. And after a successful debut, Tonon says he actually appreciates mixed martial arts more than he did in the past.
“Right now, I’m addicted to MMA. I really enjoy the training and I really enjoyed fighting,” Tonon said in a recent appearance on MMAFighting.com’s “The MMA Hour.” “But who knows how that will change if I suffer a tough loss or get beat up during a fight? … Everything that I’m saying to you right now is coming from the perspective of somebody who only has tasted victory.”
“All I’ve known is I got hit three or four times during the fight and I was the one doing the primary damage,” he continued. “I won, I didn’t lose a tough decision, I didn’t take a bunch of damage, I didn’t get knocked out yet.”
Tonon’s fight against Corminal is also his first plunge into MMA fighting. This means that he entered a professional fight with no amateur experience, something that is unprecedented among the practitioners of the sport.
He admits that while he is currently on that high from winning, it could also go the other way next time around, which could easily change his perception of the sport.
“There are so many of these things that have happened to other fighters that completely changed the way they thought about their careers and things like that so let’s cross our fingers and assume that that’s never going to happen, but I’ll be realistic about it and know that where I’m speaking about MMA right now is only coming from a place of winning and not getting a lot of damage,” Tonon said.
During the interview, Tonon also expressed his intentions to fight the renowned Shinya Aoki under MMA rules. Tonon previously defeated Aoki in a pure grappling match held by ONE Championship in May 2017.