GRACIEMAG: You’re in the main event at Metamoris Pro on the coming 14th in San Diego, where you’ll be taking on current absolute champion of the world Marcus Vinicius “Bochecha” in a 20-minute match where points won’t count. How are you training for that?
ROGER GRACIE: I’m doing all my training in London, where I live. I spent ten days in Mexico with my cousins doing a Gracie Adventure Camp, and we trained a lot together there. I managed to sharpen up my game. The best part of it was training with Renzo in the gi.
What does it feel like to be getting close to competing in the gi again?
It’ll be an enormous pleasure. It’s been two years since I last competed in the gi. I can’t wait.
What were talks with your cousin Ralek Gracie like in the lead-up to your signing to compete at Metamoris?
Ralek got a hold of me when I was in Los Angeles training for my Strikeforce fight with Keith Jardine. He said he wanted me to compete at a new event he was putting together. After my fight, we continued with the talks and I had to leave him without a response. It all depended on when my next MMA fight was going to be. As I had nothing lined up, I felt it would be a good opportunity to get back into the gi. I’ll probably only be fighting in Strikeforce in January 2013.
You were there matside when Bochecha became absolute champ in the final against Léo Nogueira. What do you think of the champion’s performance?
Bochecha has a lot of heart. There, he showed all his grit and desire to win. That makes an opponent really dangerous. More so when the match lasts 20 minutes.
On Strikeforce, did you need permission from the promoters to compete at Metamoris?
I have a really good relationship with Strikeforce. There’s nothing in my contract keeping me from competing in Jiu-Jitsu. But either way, my manager advised them.
What’s your assessment of your debut in the Strikeforce middleweight division, and beating a former UFC fighter?
I felt great. Before then I competed as a light heavyweight but always was light for the weight class. Jardine’s a veteran in MMA, and it was a pleasure to fight him. It was a lively fight and the first time I went to a judges’ decision. I got to learn a lot, especially about fighting tired.