The UK is blessed to have one of the best grapplers in the entire universe living on our grey and cloudy shores.
Roger Gracie, who teaches and resides in London, is fighting Trevor Prangley in Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg on January 29th.
This will be Roger’s biggest test in MMA to date, with Prangley coming off a win over solid UFC vet Keith “Herky Jerky Style” Jardine.
I called him up and he, graciously, answered…
How has your preparation been for the fight?
Everything is going fine for the fight. I’m injury free, and I’ve been training hard for the last few months. Everything has been done, now I am just keeping sharp and keeping my fitness levels up. I need to drop a couple of pounds but will do that in the last week.
I was going to go to Renzo’s in NYC, but there has been a slight delay on my visa, so I will stay in the UK, and fly straight to California.
Do you have a grand plan for your career in Strikeforce or are you just looking at the next fight?
I’m taking it one fight at a time. I will fight anyone, it doesn’t matter. I’m just going to keep fighting and eventually I will be fighting for the belt. But the belt is not a goal for me. I just want to have some good fights.
What are your plans for BJJ / grappling this year?
I’m definitely going to do the world championships in June. I am not sure about the rest. I may do the Abu Dhabi Pro, or maybe ADCC, but I am not sure.
You won super heavy and absolute at the mundials last year… Strikeforce is expanding its heavyweight roster to include some of the best in the world. Would you ever fight at heavyweight?
MMA is so different to BJJ. You see some heavyweights in MMA, they are huge. For me to go to heavyweight is difficult. I walk around at 100 kilos, so it is easy for me to lose a bit to fight at light heavy.
Various websites report that you have been training with GSP and other big name athletes. How has that been?
That was great. He just came for a week to help me out, help me prepare for my fight. We had some great training sessions, and he gave me some nice tips. How to finish the takedown, control the distance in the fight. I can see what he does best and try to fit it into my own game. I went to Canada in December for a week to train with him, too.
Strikeforce has a good relationship with DREAM and often sends fighters over there. Have you had any talks about this, and is this something you would be interested in?
Maybe. It’s possible, but I have no plans. Definitely possible though as I really enjoyed fighting in Japan, when I fought in SRC. I would like to again.
Recently Carlos Gracie Jr said that it would be difficult to get the same success in MMA as in BJJ, because of things like MMA athletes being able to take a lot of punishment, their size and strength, etc. What do you think?
He gave his point of view. I personally disagree with the things he said. Or rather, I feel differently. It is not as simple as it used to be for a jiu jitsu fighter to succeed in MMA. Now you really need dedication, adaptation… you need to train very hard, and the rules are different, you have to deal with the punches while you are trying to sweep or submit… But I am confident I can do very well. If I wasn’t confident, I wouldn’t even try.
There you have it. I wish Roger the best, he’s a true ambassador for the sport of jiu jitsu.