ONE Championship’s mixed martial arts divisions could soon receive an injection of elite ground fighters.
A trio of reigning ONE Submission Grappling World Champions – Mikey “Darth Rigatoni” Musumeci, Kade Ruotolo, and Tye Ruotolo – are eyeing transitions to MMA, and all of them have the tools to succeed in the all-around sport.
Naturally, fans are excited to see these submission specialists try their hand at a new discipline – and they’re curious to find out how their grappling skills will apply when striking is added to the equation.
Here are three reasons why these grappling megastars have immense potential in MMA.
#1 They’re The World’s Top Pound-For-Pound Grapplers
Musumeci and both Ruotolo brothers are united by one common trait: They are each widely regarded as one of the best pound-for-pound ground fighters on the planet.
With five IBJJF World Titles to his name and three successful defenses of his ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Title, “Darth Rigatoni” is the most accomplished American-born Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competitor in history. And following his highlight-reel submission of Shinya Aoki at ONE Fight Night 15, his reputation is only growing.
The Ruotolos have plenty to brag about, as well.
ONE Lightweight Submission Grappling World Champion Kade ran through the prestigious ADCC World Championships with a 100 percent finishing rate to become the youngest gold medalist in the tournament’s history.
For his part, freshly crowned ONE Welterweight Submission Grappling World Champion Tye is also the youngest-ever IBJJF Black Belt World Champion.
Considering their unprecedented success in the world of BJJ and grappling, it’s fair to assume they would instantly be among the most dangerous submission threats in all of mixed martial ats.
#2 They’re Already Training Under Top Athletes And Coaches
These submission grappling phenoms are starting strong in their MMA training.
Musumeci has thrown himself into the deep end of Muay Thai, learning “the art of eight limbs” from the likes of longtime ONE Flyweight Muay Thai World Champion Rodtang Jitmuangnon and Thai legend Nong-O Hama.
Over in the United States, the Ruotolos have kicked off their striking work under the tutelage of respected coach Jason Parillo, who has been the guiding force behind a number of MMA World Champions.
What’s more, Tye recently connected with reigning ONE Bantamweight Muay Thai and Kickboxing World Champion Jonathan Haggerty and indicated interest in training under the British superstar.
With these world-renowned athletes and coaches in their respective corners, these ground aces could quickly become legitimately dangerous strikers.
#3 They Aren’t Fazed By The Bright Lights
All three submission grappling titleholders have plenty of experience in high-pressure, high-stakes situations – an intangible skill that would surely serve them well in MMA.
Each competitor came to ONE Championship as an established World Champion in BJJ, and since then, they have only further proved their mettle in big matches, going a combined 8-0 in ONE World Title bouts.
Simply put, these men perform at their best when it matters the most and when the lights are the brightest.
Given their experience in the world’s largest martial arts organization, Musumeci and the Ruotolos shouldn’t be affected by the lofty expectations surrounding their potential MMA debuts.