Perhaps the biggest rivals in BJJ history, Roger Gracie and Ronaldo Jacaré have grown to respect and admire each other over the last several years, after they stopped fighting for absolute BJJ world championships.
They have both migrated to MMA. Roger has won a One FC belt, whereas Jaca became a Strikeforce champion and is one of the strongest UFC middleweights in activity. In his last bout, however, Jacaré wound up losing to a fast, accurate Robert Whittaker.
Graciemag sat down with Roger to discuss Jacaré’s chances going forward. It turns out Roger is confident in the future success of his old enemy, whom he saw break an arm rather than tap out, winning absolute gold at the 2004 Worlds.
“I’m certain he will recover and get back on top in the division,” Roger said. “Jacaré has demonstrated several times throughout his career that he has a very good mind. He won’t let just one loss shake him. I know he will dedicate himself and come back stronger than ever. Jacaré is an exceptional athlete; that was just a low point in his career, a day where he wasn’t too well. It happens. His belt will come; he deserves it more than anyone. He is a special guy and has built everything in his life himself.”
Roger also talked about a detail in the Whittaker fight, when Jacaré reached the back and failed to control the position. “Nowadays there is no clueless fighter in MMA,” he said; “everybody trains everything. It is very hard to finish from the back with MMA gloves on, especially UFC gloves, which are thicker than One or Strikeforce gloves. The hand slips too much when it’s time to finish.”