The Diet Butcher -
Personal insight on Gordon: I am a hobbyist black belt and have rolled with many professional grapplers/MMA fighters. Gordon is by far the most decorated person I’ve rolled with. However, for someone watching who didn’t know who Gordon was, they would never know from our roll. Unlike others, who simply used their strengths to try and crush me (usually successfully) in order to be the “big man in the gym,” Gordon would continue to put himself in disadvantageous positions to work out of, or play into MY strengths as he recognized them so as to challenge himself. Truly rolling with no ego for the sole sake of learning - taking an unfamiliar training partner and using their movements to test their own training foundations/regimens. After rolling with him it was no surprise why he is the best in the world and will continue to be, while other guys who are successful for today will eventually fall behind.
Late reply here but I just wanted to echo a similar experience. I rolled with Gordon when I was a brown belt and he was a black belt leading up to his first ADCC before everyone was leg locking.
I felt and saw the same thing. It was mostly a gym full of upper belts too. Almost no one there was below purple. He let people work. I didn't see anyone sub him the entire time.
I went with a fairly relaxed pace with him compared to what I saw others doing. The most impressive thing is that he was the last one to finish rolling. It was just a seminar but he rolled for at least an hour without taking a rest round or water break He wanted to roll with everyone in the room and he let everyone get at least one offensive sequence on him and then forced himself to work out of it.
And even though ADCC was coming up he didn't roll super fast or aggressive. Relaxed pace but stupidly technical.
He also was helpful without totally stopping the roll. I locked up a brabo choke and mounted him to finish it. He calmly dismantled the bomb, swept me, and subbed me with the same move. He then quickly mentioned the detail that he said made my choke fail and his work (retracting your choking arm's elbow across towards your own hip.) Next I put him in the reverse half guard when he was in reverse kesa gatame (side control facing my feet) and after 4-11 heel hooking me from there he told me that was a bad idea against good leg lockers. I appreciated those nuggets of wisdom.