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From Mat to Cage: Garry Tonon Confident in Repeating BJJ Magic in Debut vs Filipino Talent

Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon and Ring Girls


For the past couple of decades, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has been spreading like wildfire, gaining worldwide recognition and becoming the most well-known submission-orientated combat style among the grappling arts.

Since modern mixed martial arts opened its doors to Brazil’s concept of Jiu-Jitsu, the style has been put to the test against other extremely effective grappling arts in a variety of point systems and promotions.

Jiu-Jitsu is one of the most important elements of the sport, and many grapplers have made the successful switch from the mat to the cage.

Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu legend Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon has racked up a boatload of accomplishments as a celebrated grappler, and he is now ready to take his talents to the ONE Championship cage to begin a mixed martial arts career.

Tonon’s journey as a professional mixed martial artist commences on 24 March as he is slated to make his debut in ONE Championship, taking on Filipino stalwart Richard “The Notorious” Corminal.

Both men are set to face each other at ONE: IRON WILL, which takes place at the Impact Arena in Bangkok, Thailand.

“It is the natural evolution in my career as a grappler,” Tonon said. “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.”

A fixture in global grappling tournaments and widely considered one of the best submission grapplers in history, Tonon made his first appearance inside the ONE Championship cage when he took on Japanese legend Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki in the promotion’s first-ever Grappling Super-Match in May 2017.

The 26-year-old American grappling prodigy won the contest against Aoki impressively via heel hook submission.

Hailing from New Jersey in the United States, Tonon 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, Tonon’s hard work on the mat finally paid off as deBlass and Almeida awarded him a black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Shortly after, his professional grappling career began as Tonon would later win multiple titles at the Eddie Bravo Invitational and Metamoris professional grappling leagues.

Determined to make a name for himself in the next chapter of his martial arts career, Tonon will be making his highly-anticipated professional debut at ONE: IRON WILL on 24 March.

“I am excited to begin my ONE Championship career, and proud to showcase my skills on the biggest global stage of competition,” he stated.

In his maiden assignment under the ONE Championship banner, Tonon crosses paths with Corminal, a Filipino martial artist based in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia who is training out of MuayFit.

Corminal holds a professional record of four wins and three losses, with each of his career victories to date coming by way of knockout.

In his most recent bout, Corminal succumbed to Frenchman Arnaud LePont by way of submission in the first round this past November.

Corminal now aims for redemption as he eyes to spoil the much-awaited first appearance of Tonon in ONE Championship.

“I do not know what will happen in the match, but I am so excited because I like challenges,” Tonon pointed out. “Success is a future for only those able to see the value in facing challenges. Surely, I will exert tremendous effort in this new career path of mine.”

On the mat, Tonon owns notable victories over mixed martial artists such as Aoki, Dillon Danis, Beneil Dariush, Marcin Held, Gilbert Burns, Vinny Magalhaes and Ralek Gracie.

With an illustrious grappling career behind him, Tonon seeks to emulate the success of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioners like BJ Penn, Royce Gracie and Demian Maia, who rose to prominence by trading their Gis for four-ounce gloves.

“When I found Jiu-Jitsu, I realized that if I wanted to be good at this, I needed to put the actual work in. I will do the same thing in the new chapter of my martial arts career because I really do want to be the best at this,” he assured.

As the sport continues to evolve with the rise and incorporation of other martial arts disciplines, Tonon made it clear that Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu will always have a high regard for him.

“By heart, I will always be a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner.  There are so many great athletes who paved the way for young competitors like me and made these two sports what it is today. I will represent the art of Jiu-Jitsu with pride inside the cage,” he ended.
For more updates on ONE Championship, please visit www.onefc.com, follow us on Twitter and Instagram @ONEChampionship, and like us on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/ONEChampionship.

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