Thornton VS Ricco Rodriguez?

"Rickson Gracie awarded Matt his blue belt in 1993. As a blue belt Matt competed in Rickson's first tournament, where he swept his division, making it to the finals by winning all his matches via submission. His only loss occurred against the former UFC Champion Rico Rodriguez, in a tough match that saw Rico narrowly escape a triangle by Matt and take cross sides."

Is this on tape somewhere?

that would be cool

Hey Matt, could you tell us how it went?

Matts in Denmark, he'll be back soon.

Yep, I am still in Denmark. I am headed for the airport and home in a few hours.

That match was at Ricksons first tournament at UCLA. We where both blue belts at the time, and we met in the finals.

I pulled guard and caught a triangle fairly early. Ricco held out on it, and eventualy passed, where he took head and arm and then a neck crank. It is exactly what I watched him do to everyone at that event that weekend. I was about 228 then. He was probably 310 or close to it, and by far the strongest guy I had ever wrestled up to that point. I remember Fabio Santos was yelling at me to open my legs and push off his hip to get a better angle and finish, as his back was huge. But at the time I was not clear what Fabio was saying.

I remember really wishing I had lost the 7 pounds so I could have been in the heavyweight div, and not the unlimited weight class. But in those days my diet was usualy Mcdonalds, and I had a different body.

I saw you where asking for footage on another thread. I did not record anything because Ricksons flyer said clearly no video. But then looking up in the stands at the event I saw a ton of people with camcorders, so live and learn. If you ever find footage let me know.

Burton was actually on the sidelines for all my matches that weekend, which I was very grateful for. He hung out all day Sat and Sun with me while I waited for them to call my name. . .which would sometimes take forever.

That seems like another lifetime now.

Cool. Thanks Matt.


wow, great story Matt. I really wish I had my first bjj tournament fight on tape too. It was at the first Arnold-Gracie tournament in Ohio. I won my first and second matches, then lost to a wrestler who I thought I had his arm completely extended from an armbar in guard - he took me down into the judges table - lol, that hurt. Come to think of it, I wish I had my matches from this year too! I fought for 21 minutes and lost on points and my opponent promised to send me the tape but never did.


Not to take away anything from Ricco, but I always thought neck cranks especially with a guy THAT BIG were a little stupid, since they don't exactly represent the leverage you could apply to a bigger stronger opponent (which I thought was what jiujitsu was all about) let alone someone your same size.