Garry Tonon will make his return to the ONE Championship Circle on Friday, May 20, at ONE 157: Petchmorakot vs. Vienot. The bout will mark his first return to action since coming up short in his bid for the ONE Featherweight World Championship in March.
Garry Tonon Excited To Meet ‘Newer Generation’
The talented American will return to his roots for a submission grappling match against Tye Ruotolo.
The highly-anticipated bout features the best of the best in submission grappling, and the quick rise of the Ruotolo Brothers is not lost on the featherweight contender.
“I truly do believe that Tye and Kade [Ruotolo] are at the highest level, or are approaching the highest level, of the sport right now as up-and-comers. I think they’re two of the toughest guys in their respective divisions,” said Tonon.
“So it’s a really exciting opportunity for me to be able to compete against, essentially, the newer generation of tough grapplers coming up.”
That does not mean there isn’t a little additional storyline to be had with this clash of generations.
The two athletes come from competing teams. Atos Jiu-Jitsu and the Danaher Death Squad have had a wild history on the mats.
But Tonon does not expect that to play much of a role in this particular match.
“I don’t think there’s anything with me personally. I don’t really think I’ve ever had too much issue with these guys,” said Tonon.
“There was a time, a long time ago, when they were asking for a match with me. They did so in an interview after a match. So it is what it is. So the only drama that I think I had between us was back then. I think I made some comments about not being sure if they actually wanted it or if they were just trying to use my name for clout.”
Win or lose against the talented Ruotolo brother, don’t expect Tonon to abandon his bid to become a mixed martial arts World Champion.
His focus is still on getting to the gold, but after his setback against Thanh Le, Tonon is ready to take whatever road will lead him back up the rankings.
“I think just logistically, they’ll probably give me a couple of fights before, or they would put me back in to fight for the championship or be in contention for fighting for a title,” said Tonon.
“There’s really not that many fights to make, you know, between myself and other people that were ready to fight for the title. I think. I mean, they could do whatever they want, obviously, but, for example, Martin [Nguyen] is out there that would kind of be like a guy that they could give him a title shot because he’s had it for so long. So he could either end up fighting for a title or end up fighting me.”
“When I say I’m not too worried about it, I just mean it in a sense that it takes a few fights to get back there. It is what it is, you know.”
But before he can step back into the fray at featherweight, a lightweight submission grappling match beckons for the title challenger. A win will keep his name shining brightly for when he prepares his next step forward in the hunt for ultimate glory on the global stage.
ONE 157 airs live and free on watch.onefc.com on Friday, May 20, at 4:30 a.m. ET/1:30 a.m. PT.