Robert Drysdale: Only a Matter of Time

Derek BolenderSenior Analyst IFebruary 4, 2009


Traditionally, the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) light heavyweight division has been the premier division in the organization thanks in large part to the huge success of fan favorites like Chuck Liddell, Randy Couture, and Tito Ortiz over the past few years. 


To this day, the light heavyweight division (with a 205 pound limit) is arguably the deepest division in the world in any mixed martial arts (MMA) organization, headlined currently by the likes of current champion Rashad Evans, former champion Quinton Jackson, and Lyoto Machida.


The strength of the division has continued to remain firmly intact with a steady stream of talented young fighters constantly being filtered into and through the UFC pipeline. 


Enter light heavyweight and mixed martial arts rookie Robert Drysdale, who will likely be seeking out the proverbial pipeline sooner rather than later. 


The UFC figures to have the inside track on Drysdale’s services when the time comes.  He was recently an assistant coach for Team Mir on The Ultimate Fighter 8 season. 


He also trains alongside many UFC fighters at Xtreme Couture in Las Vegas, Nevada, which is also where the UFC is headquartered. It would be a seamless transition for him assuming all other factors were ideal.


If the name Robert Drysdale does not ring a bell you are certainly not alone. He is far from the radar of most MMA fans and even farther away from being a legitimate contender. 


After all, he only has one MMA fight under his belt to date, scoring a submission victory last October over Josh Musick at the TUFF-N-UFF event in Las Vegas in his amateur debut. He has yet to even make his professional debut.    


For now, he is largely in over his head as a mixed martial artist, having only trained MMA since 2008. 


What Drysdale is best known for is his world class submission grappling that was highlighted by the Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) open division world championship he earned in 2007. 


Drysdale, who was born in the United States but grew up in Brazil, has dominated some of the best Jiu-Jitsu fighters locally, nationally, and worldwide for nearly 10 years prior to his transition to MMA. 


To give you some perspective, to win the 2007 ADCC world championship Drysdale had to submit the Brazilian Marcelo Garcia to take home the crown jewel. 


Garcia is a three-time ADCC champion himself and has defeated the likes of Renzo Gracie, Alexandre Ribeiro, Thales Leites, Diego Sanchez, Jake Shields, Shinya Aoki, Gabriel Gonzaga, and Renato Sobral over the past few years in various grappling tournaments around the world. 


That is quite an impressive grappling resume for Garcia, but the more important point is that it clearly illustrates the kind of level Drysdale is on when it comes to his Jiu-Jitsu. He is arguably the best submission grappler on the planet today. 


For now, Drysdale is diligently training each day alongside guys like Randy Couture and Wanderlei Silva to improve his overall skill set and mold himself into a well-rounded fighter. 


Taking his incredible Jiu-Jitsu skill and turning it into an MMA career is certainly a leap, but it is not unprecedented.   


Look no further than Demian Maia, a former ADCC world champion and former Drysdale training partner in Brazil, who has made the move look relatively easy. 


Maia has only been training in MMA for roughly three years and has already established himself as a force in the UFC middleweight division earning four consecutive victories inside the Octagon to move close to No. 1 contender status. 


If Maia can make a successful transition, a motivated and determined Drysdale can certainly do the same. 


It is only a matter of time before Drysdale finds MMA success and becomes a guy that nobody will look forward to facing. 


The light heavyweights have officially been warned in advance. 






Derek Bolender writes exclusively for  Send Derek a comment, suggestion, or article idea to