At Sunday’s DEEP Tribe Tokyo Fight main event, it was a sad moment for Japanese fans and for MMA enthusiasts around the world as Ryo Chonan (22-13) parted ways with his pro MMA career. yo Chonan He did, however, retire on a high note, defeating Dan Hornbuckle for the Welterweight belt – just his second championship honor following his stint as DEEP’s 185-lbs champ back in 2006-2007.
Having been in the sport since 2001, Chonan was a staple of DEEP from the get-go, competing in the Japan-based ,promotion in his early years as a pro Mixed Martial Artist. As he started to gain more experience and a good following, Chonan went on to compete for famed promotions like the UFC, DREAM and PRIDE.
He didn’t particularly fare too well in the UFC ranks. In four appearances, Chonan went 1-3, with his only victory coming via split decision in his second encounter with Roan Carneiro. He dropped defeats to Karo Parisyan, Brad Blackburn and current top contender TJ Grant before being future endeavored by the UFC brass.
His stint in PRIDE though, was unarguably his most memorable one. Despite going 4-4 under the promotion’s banner, the 37-year-old faced some of the best fighters the world had to offer at the time, namely Anderson Silva, Phil Baroni, Dan Henderson and Ricardo Almeida. His match-up with former UFC Middleweight king-pin Anderson Silva stands-out, and will forever be instilled in the memory of MMA fans. He submitted the “The Spider” via a heel hook, forcing a tap from the Brazilian as soon as the submission maneuver was enforced. To date, Chonan remains as only one of four men to ever defeat Silva, who has long been considered as the greatest Mixed Martial Artist of all time by various publications and fans around the globe.
In a decade plus career, Chonan faced notable fighters like Hayato Sakurai, Carlos Newton, Joey Villaseñor, Paulo Filho, Andrews Nakahara, Jung Hwan Cha and the aforementioned Silva, Baroni, Henderson, Almeida and Hornbuckle among others.
Chonan heads and operates the Tribe Tokyo MMA team, which is home to the likes Yasuhiro Urushitani, Yuya Shirai, Takenori Sato, Yoshiyuki Nakanishi and Tatsuya Mizuno.
So rest assured, even after retirement, Chonan may still be involved in the Mixed Martial Arts game, as he lends a hand in developing and guiding pro MMA fighters.