Best Submission Grappler Of 2023: Mikey Musumeci Achieves Global Stardom With 4 Legendary Victories

Mikey Musumeci Jarred Brooks ONE Fight Night 13 76

Current ONE Flyweight Submission Grappling World Champion Mikey “Darth Rigatoni” Musumeci is already considered the greatest-ever jiu-jitsu competitor, and his star power only grew this year.

The American was the most active grappler in ONE, reeling off four thrilling victories against world-class opponents, all while showcasing his unmatched technical acumen and dangerous submission skills.

Looking back at an incredible 12 months, it’s clear why Musumeci is ONE’s best submission grappler of 2023.

“Darth Rigatoni” entered 2023 having recently captured the inaugural flyweight submission grappling crown – the first submission grappling titleholder in the ONE Championship’s history. 

In his first outing this year, he took on Combat Sambo World Champion Gantumur Bayanduuren in January at ONE Fight Night 6.

While he wasn’t able to secure the tap that night, the 27-year-old displayed the brutal, bone-breaking power of his submission game, twisting the Mongolian’s leg at a grotesque angle for minutes on end en route to his first World Title defense.

Musumeci returned to action in May at ONE’s historic debut on U.S. soil to square off with IBJJF World Champion Osamah Almarwai – a man many considered his toughest opponent to date.

In a clinical and dominant performance, the flyweight submission grappling king reminded fans of his finishing prowess as he secured a picture-perfect rear-naked choke on the Yemeni standout.

Next, in August at ONE Fight Night 13, he put his gold on the line against ONE Strawweight MMA World Champion Jarred “The Monkey God” Brooks.

Yet again, Musumeci was in the driver’s seat from start to finish, submitting his American compatriot with a creative triangle-armbar.

Never one to rest on his laurels, “Darth Rigatoni” returned just two months later in a non-title openweight submission grappling encounter against Japanese MMA icon Shinya “Tobikan Judan” Aoki at ONE Fight Night 15.

The BJJ superstar didn’t disappoint in his final appearance of the year. Musumeci needed just over three minutes to submit his foe with an Aoki lock – the very technique invented and popularized by the former ONE Lightweight MMA World Champion.

What made the win even more impressive was that Musumeci got the tap while recovering from food poisoning that left him hospitalized the week before.

With those four wins in 2023, the ever-improving phenom displayed his astounding depth of skill, grew his fame on a global scale, and cemented his status as ONE’s most dominant submission grappler.

More in Features

Lara Fernandez Yu Yau Pui ONE Fight Night 20 15
Elias Mahmoudi Edgar Tabares ONE Fight Night 13 28
Suablack Tor Pran49 Craig Coakley ONE Friday Fights 46 23
Aaron Canarte Akbar Abdullaev ONE Fight Night 12 5
Christian Lee becomes the new ONE Welterweight World Champion
Scottish Muay Thai fighter Amy Pirnie
Jarred Brooks Joshua Pacio ONE 166 12
Hiroba Minowa Gustavo Balart ONE 165 77
Nico Carrillo Saemapetch Fairtex ONE Fight Night 23 40
Ok Rae Yoon Alibeg Rasulov ONE Fight Night 23 36
Ok Rae Yoon Lowen Tynanes ONE Fight Night 10 68
Muangthai PK Saenchai Nico Carrillo ONE Friday Fights 22 38