Garry Tonon will be making his MMA debut sooner than many people expected.
Speaking on the Joe Rogan Experience MMA Show, John Danaher revealed the date for Tonon’s MMA debut as ‘March 26’, however it seems as though he was referring to the March 24 card ‘ONE: Iron Will’ in Bangkok, Thailand.
“I was scheduled to get my knee replacement tomorrow, but I didn’t do it because Garry Tonon will be fighting his first MMA fight on March 26. If I got the knee replacement now, I would not be able to help him get ready for his first MMA fight.”
While this is yet to be confirmed by the organization, the timeline makes sense. With the upcoming mega-fight between Martin Nguyen and Bibiano Fernandes also at ONE: Iron Will, it looks as if ONE Championship will attempt to stack the card in the hopes of drawing viewers from Western audiences, as well.
Bypassing the amateur route
Questioned by Joe Rogan as to why Tonon joined ONE Championship, rather than any other organization, Danaher shared some insight into Tonon’s decision:
“I think one of his main fears was that if he went the amateur route and then worked his way to the UFC there would be problems because he is already an established name in grappling. And I think he was concerned that it would be difficult to get people to fight amateur [with him] and then eventually make his way to the UFC.”
Despite having never competed in MMA, Tonon has the potential to become a star for the organization considering his notoriety as a submission grappler. His entry to the welterweight division is also a welcome one considering the recent retirement of Ben Askren from the sport.
Tonon’s MMA debut won’t be the first time that the grappler has been under the bright lights of ONE Championship, having also competed in a Grappling Super-Match with Shinya Aoki in Singapore last year.
“ONE FC is a fairly well-known organization and they were pretty open to it. He did a grappling match with them and they loved it, and they asked him if he was interested in MMA.”
“He can go into a fairly high-level of MMA right from the start as opposed to going the amateur route and battle his way into the UFC.”
Update (March 6): Garry Tonon will be facing Richard Corminal in a lightweight contest at ONE: Iron Will.