One of the three Gracies featured on our website two years ago will debut at MMA in next June 23th at CFFC in New Jersey.
One of the three Gracies featured on our website two years ago will debut at MMA in next June 23th at CFFC in New Jersey. This is Gregor Gracie, one of the most skilled and determined fighters in BJJ and submission nowadays. Gregor displayed all his pride in being a Gracie member and he wants to elevate more the Gracies and his own with this new way into his career, the MMA.
Denis Martins: You are the first of the three Gracies featured in OTM who is debuting in MMA. How long have you been training and how did you decide to make this transition from BJJ for MMA?
Gregor Gracie: I always knew my future would be in MMA, I always had the opportunity of being sparring of someone. Now, with Renzo’s team at IFL, the squad has fights every six weeks, so the trainings do not stop. I started at training to support them, and then I felt well and I knew this was time to debut.
DM: Does this training with New York PitBulls what gave you more confidence to debut?
GG: I think that to be sparring with these guys makes you confident to debut in MMA. Each training I had with them, I got more confidence and will to test my skills and own trainings in a MMA match. SO this was the time, I had a conversation with Renzo and he booked me at CFFC.
DM: What is the tough issue of training MMA?
GG: My ground game needs to be more accurate, mainly on the bottom. Any space that you provide is enough to take a hit on the face.
DM: What did you adapt better to MMA and what do you need to improve more?
GG: In BJJ my strong weapons were the closed guard and the work on the top, so when I started the MMA trainings – on the ground – I felt myself comfortable (this is the opposite of a few people who work with open guard). What I need to improve is the on the feet game. I am training hard, but I do want to trade blows with everyone, so I need to improve a little bit more.
DM: Which are your main awards in BJJ?
GG: Two times Mundial champion, Brazilian champion, Pan Ams champion and two time Brasileiro de Equipes champion.
DM: When a Gracie is going to debut in MMA, is the responsibility bigger?
GG: The responsibility will always exist, you know. But I handle that since I started on the competitions. This does not bother me at all, to tell you the truth, this helps me.
DM: Who are your main teammates and how is shared your trainings?
GG: I train with everybody from the team here: Fabio Leopoldo, Erik Owins, Jamal Patterson, my brothers Rolls and Igor, Ricardo Almeida and Renzo, so the level of my training is very high here. I train everyday, twice per day and this is shared between Muay Thai and BJJ.
DM: What about your opponent?
GG: He is a striker, but he knows ground game. I watched a few of his fights, his game is tough, but I could not expect a different opponent than that. Nowadays there are no more places for easy fights.
DM: Who are the fighters that you are mirroring yourself for this debut?
GG: I mirror myself a lot in Renzo and Ricardo Almeida, not only as fighters but as humans.
DM: In your opinion who is the best fighter in MMA?
GG: I think Emelianenko Fedor is the best. He is smart, strong and has always the perfect strategy.
DM: In which category will be this your MMA debut?
GG: I am going to fight under 77kgs, this was an easy decision. I was heavy to drop weight and light to gain more 6kgs(lol).
DM: Thanks for your time Gregor, have lucky in your MMA debut!
GG: I would like to thanks my family and ATAMA gis, their support is the reason I can dedicate myself 100% to the trainings. Thank you!
(Editor’s note: Original interview here: http://www.onthemat.com/articles/Next_Generation_Gracies_10_18_2005.html