Robert Drysdale isn’t exactly a name with which many MMA fans are familiar. But that will soon change.

The Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt recently signed a contract to compete in the Octagon and is set to make his UFC debut later this summer. If all goes according to plan, Drysdale will step inside the Octagon on UFC 163 against Ednaldo Oliveira. Drysdale will bring a modest MMA record of 6-0 to the cage, but his experience is much more vast than what that record reflects. He owns a gold medal from the 2007 ADCC submission wrestling competition and also a gold medal from the 2005 World Jiu-Jitsu Championships.

Competing in martial arts since the ’90s, Drysdale is no stranger to combat. The man’s grappling credentials rival that of some of the best grapplers in the UFC right now, and he is undoubtedly one of the top jiu-jitsu players in the heavyweight division. He’s transitioned those grappling skills to the MMA realm, with all of his victories having come via submission. Not only have they all come by way of tapout, they’ve all come inside the first round as well.

Of course, Drysdale will have an advantage on the ground against virtually any opponent he’ll come across in the Octagon, but is that enough to predict that he’ll find success inside the eight-sided cage? The answer has to be yes.

Drysdale will excel in the UFC. We’ve seen athletes who are extremely proficient in one particular aspect of the fight game enjoy some success. Many of the top-10 light heavyweights in the UFC enjoy a background in some form of grappling, which would play right into Drysdale’s game.

However, as good as Drysdale is on the ground, he’ll need to evolve as a fighter. While the top guys have a background in grappling, many of them are pretty good strikers themselves. Guys like Glover Teixeira, Dan Henderson and Lyoto Machida have great grappling games, but also possess dangerous knockout power. It won’t be enough for Drysdale to simply rely on his ground game if he wants succeed against the upper echelon of the UFC. These guys will be able to thwart the takedowns or even hold their own on the ground against a submission specialist like Drysdale.

A factor that will likely help Drysdale progress his MMA game is that he’s been around a number of great fighters throughout his career. Although not participating in MMA until recently, Drysdale has coached a number of guys, including Frank Mir and Forrest Griffin, and has worked with a Xtreme Couture. Working with guys like that and having those kind of connections will undoubtedly allow Drysdale to adjust to not only the UFC spotlight but also MMA as a sport.

The x-factor when predicting Drysdale’s measure of success in the Octagon is his level of conditioning. We haven’t seen how Drysdale will handle adversity or how quickly he fatigues in the cage. Quite frankly, we haven’t seen much from the BJJ ace, period. His fights so far have only reinforced what we already know: that Drysdale is a very good grappler. I don’t suspect we’ll get those answers at UFC 163, considering that Drysdale’s opponent, Ednaldo Oliveira, is coming off a year and a half layoff and will likely have his own cardio issues to deal with. Seeing Drysdale against a grinder or a durable opponent who won’t go away quietly will give us the answers to this particular question.

Although Drysdale is 32 years of age and has only competed in MMA since 2010, he’s an intriguing prospect due to his lengthy list of accomplishments in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu competition. He needs to develop a well-rounded game, but his jiu-jitsu will always be a trump card that can topple nearly every opponent he’ll come across in the Octagon.

Photo: Robert Drysdale (Armageddon Fighting Championship)

About The Author

Kyle Symes
Staff Writer

Kyle is a recent graduate of Aurora University, where he obtained a Bachelor's in Communications. Kyle resides in Illinois, just outside of Chicago. He played baseball and football in both high school and college, but is now focusing on an amateur MMA career.