Garry Tonon: A Legendary BJJ MMA Fighter

Garry Tonon is a respectable no-gi BJJ competitor who earned his reputation through prestigious events. Tonon worked hard with John Danaher but took a U-turn in 2018 when he switched to mixed martial arts. Garry competes at ONE FC, where he’s riding on a great score of six wins and one loss.

This article will provide BJJ MMA facts about Garry Tonon that you may not be aware of. Thus, it will emphasize Garry’s tournament exploits, best grappling techniques, and other incredible things.

Garry Tonon Early BJJ Training

garry tonon bjj

Garry Tonon was born in New Jersey, USA, on September 12, 1991. Interestingly, he kicked off his BJJ voyage in the 5th grade. Tonon also trained in wrestling from 5th to 9th grade and was solid potential.

After his friend took him to a local BJJ tournament at 14, Tonon became increasingly interested in grappling. He started training sessions at a friend’s dojo.

But there were only three Brazilian jiu-jitsu classes because it was a pure MMA gym, so Garry left it after six months to focus on his BJJ voyage.

A leaflet from the Ocean County Jiu-Jitsu academy drew his attention. The gym was located in New Jersey, which sounded like a perfect solution for a hungry kid.

Tonon fell in love with the methodology of Tom de Blass, and his successful career started – two training sessions per day became a part of his everyday routine!

Garry Tonon Belt in Brazilian jiu-jitsu

how many degrees of black belt are there in jiu jitsu

Garry Tonon Is A Black Belt Under Ricardo Almeida / Tom De Blass.

The long-time BJJ student Garry Tonon was awarded a BJJ black belt by his two coaches in mid-September 2013.

Here’s an interesting fact – Tonon used to have a lot of success in competitions as a colored belt.

For example, he was first-placed at IBJJF No-Gi World Championship in 2011 as a brown belt.

Garry Tonon IBJJF Tournaments

Garry Tonon won first place At the IBJJF Pan Championship no-gi tournament in 2015.

Tonon competed at many great, elite-level BJJ tournaments before starting his MMA career, but he lost to the stars in the finals and semifinals.

His most considerable success is 1st place at the IBJJF Pan Championship No-Gi tournament in 2015. He was also third-placed at the ADCC World Championship in 2019, one year after starting his mixed martial arts run.

Related: Unleash your inner victor and be inspired by past ADCC champions. This fascinating article includes all Legendary ADCC World champions to inspire you to your full potential.

Tonon Competes MMA Career

Garry Tonon inked the contract with ONE FC promotion in 2018, and his current score is 6-1.

Of course, most of his battles were finished via submission, which is understandable as he comes from Brazilian jiu-jitsu.

In his debut, Tonon surprisingly TKO’d Richard Corminal via ground and pound strikes.

His second fight was hard, but Rahul Raju was forced to tap when the legendary American grappler caught the body triangle and finished the Indian warrior with a rear-naked choke off the back.

Source: ONE Championship

His Featherweight debut was even better, the Korean Sung Jong Lee was quickly finished with a guillotine choke in the second round.

We’ve seen another stunning finish in his fourth outing against Anthony Engelen, who was finished via a barrage of punches on the bottom.

The shortest match of Tonon’s career happened against Yoshiki Nakahara when Tonon secured an early leg submission. Then, the Japanese fighter had to tap after only 55 seconds in the first round.

Garry’s bout went the distance for the first time against Koyomi Matsushima.

Still, the American somehow outworked his foe thanks to the more significant number of submission attempts and more activity (ONE FC favors old Pride FC rules, if this were a UFC bout, it would’ve been the other way around).

Garry Tonon unlocked a title strap battle versus Thanh Le, but this time, he made a big mistake by shooting right off the bat and keeping his hands low.

Tonon tried to pull guard and went for a potential leg lock, but Le sat on his entangled leg and slept out of the submission attempt, then put Garry Tonon to sleep while the New Jersey native was setting the situation for another leg lock.

Garry Tonon Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Class

garry tonon mma
Photo Credit:

Garry Tonon competed at lightweight in BJJ, but he’s a featherweight mma competitor.

Garry Tonon is known worldwide as a lightweight (-77 kg) competitor in BJJ. Yet, for his MMA bouts, Tonon started at 170 lbs (77 kilos) due to ONE FC’s different ruleset (hydration tests are mandatory in fight week, and sauna and extreme weight cuts are not allowed).

After his second victory, Tonon spent money on nutritionists before his fights, and now he competes at ONE FC Featherweight (155 pounds). He looks jacked ahead of every battle, one can learn anatomy by looking at his body!

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Garry Tonon Effective Grappling Techniques

Source: Takedown Breakdown

You Don’t Want Garry Tonon On Your Back!

Garry Tonon’s back control is one of the best in the game, especially when he locks you into a dangerous body triangle.

Tonon scored a total of 6 rear-naked choke victories, but his back control and back takes are simply out of this world. If you’re not sweaty, you’re in big trouble against the BJJ phenom from New York!

Tonon Loves Inside Heel Hooks!

The most significant number of Tonon’s victories in his grappling record (18) happened via an inside heel hook.

It is a rare but pretty tricky move to defend. When you sit or rotate to the opposite side, you should be able to defend this submission attempt.

Yet, Tonon does it differently, so it is super hard to stay away from it!

Source: Bernardo Faria BJJ Fanatics

Take a look at this educational video. You’ll see a difference, Garry fishes for different angles, and you must be a real expert of the game to slip out of it!

Related: With this comprehensive instruction, you’ll be able to master the art of leg lock submissions and conquer the mat. Step up your game from basic to intermediate grappling techniques and become a force to be reckoned with.

Garry Tonon BJJ Bouts Loss Recap

garry tonon
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As of the End of 2022, Garry Tonon lost twenty-seven grappling bouts.

This is a shocking fact, isn’t it? You probably expect that one of the best fighters in the world is resistant to finishes.

But everybody’s a human! Some people dedicate their lives to Brazilian jiu-jitsu, while Tonon switched to MMA in 2018. You must show at least a bit of understanding towards him!

There were eighteen losses via decision, but five submission losses were under his belt. BJJ tournaments are very tough; the best of the best are there!


Garry Tonon probably made an excellent call by transitioning to mixed martial arts. He has always been a medalist, but we rarely see Tonon win first place in excellent BJJ competitions. Here are some of his achievements:

  • 1st Place IBJJF Pan Championship NoGi (2015)
  • 1st Place EBI WW Invitational (2014/2015)
  • 1st Place EBI LW Invitational (2015)
  • 1st Place EBI LHW Invitational (2016)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF Pan Championship NoGi (2015*)
  • 3rd Place ADCC World Championship (2019)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship NoGi (2014*)

Interestingly, Tonon had way more success while he hasn’t reached the black belt status. Brown belt no-gi tournaments are also hard to win; there are a few more achievements:

  • 1st Place IBJJF World Championship NoGi (2011/2012 brown)
  • 1st Place IBJJF World Championship (2008 juvenile blue)
  • 1st Place IBJJF Pan Championship NoGi (2010* purple, 2011/2012** brown)
  • 1st Place ADCC US Trials (2013)
  • 2nd Place IBJJF Pan Championship NoGi (2010 purple)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF World Championship NoGi (2011* brown)
  • 3rd Place IBJJF Pan Championship NoGi (2011* brown)

(* Absolute, ** Weight and absolute)

Garry Tonon is a very dedicated fighter and one of the greatest BJJ stars in modern mixed martial arts. If he wins ONE FC championship, Dana White could put an eye on him. This guy could be a top-notch commercial for Brazilian jiu-jitsu if he reaches the UFC one day!

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