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‘Add Something Positive To The World Around Me’ – Garry Tonon’s Goals Extend Beyond Martial Arts

Mar 2, 2022

Multiple-time BJJ World Champion Garry Tonon will be remembered for his achievements in combat sports, but he hopes to leave a legacy that goes beyond competition.

Next, Tonon will try to become a Mixed Martial Arts World Champion when he challenges featherweight king Thanh Le in the main event of ONE: LIGHTS OUT on Friday, 11 March.

In the long run, though, he wants to reach people on a more personal level.

Above all, the American is fueled by a desire to make a positive impact on those closest to him, rather than some grandiose goal to change the world as a whole.

Tonon said:

“What helps me sleep at night, and what helps me wake up in the morning, and do what I have to do is to believe that part of the reason that I’m here is to add something positive to the world around me.

“It’s much less for me like, ‘Oh man, I want to save the environment,’ or, ‘Oh man, I want to stop drug trafficking,’ or something, you know what I mean? It’s less big for me. It’s more like the small little things that I do on a day-to-day basis.”

Of course, the things Tonon does on a day-to-day basis are combat sports, and he wants to help the next generation of athletes who follow in his footsteps.

“The Lion Killer’s” coach, John Danaher, is considered a leading figure in the grappling world, and Tonon hopes to pass on the lessons he’s learned – along with his own unique takes. 

The American said:

“What feels like some sense of permanence to me is me teaching somebody something, giving somebody something, or having an impact on somebody, and then them eventually being able to give that to somebody else – and it going down the line. So whether my name is written in a history book or not, my impact on each person whose life that I touch, my objective would be to change the world in that way.”

Garry Tonon Still Focused On His MMA Career First

Before he embarks on this journey of educating others, Garry Tonon plans on making the most of his athletic prime.

The 30-year-old has already reached the top as a submission grappler, and with a 6-0 record in MMA, he’s now earned a shot to challenge Le for the featherweight belt.

But prior to his rapid ascent in ONE, Tonon was coaching almost full-time at his own Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu academy. That role has taken a back seat to his competitive career, but he expects to make it his biggest priority in the future.

“The Lion Killer” said:

“One day, I will become a teacher – even though I am [already] a teacher, but teaching will be my main thing. Right now, I’m an athlete first and foremost. One day, my main thing will be to be a teacher, and that will be the largest percentage of my life, easily. Teaching would be my main thing, probably somewhere from around my late 30s all the way into my mid-to-late 60s.”

The idea of passing on timeless information is the greatest motivation for Tonon, but it doesn’t just have to come within combat sports.

If he can spread some love and light in any way that benefits someone else, then that’s exactly what he’ll try to do. 

Tonon added:

“My goal will be to give back as much as I can to those future generations and have that knowledge, have those skills, have those things passed on, so that somebody else can do something positive with them, and so that somebody else can pass it to the next generation. 

“So for me, it’s more about just trying to take the people that are around me and affect them in a positive way, whether that be through martial arts or whether that just be through the way that I’m interacting with them.”

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