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