On January 9, websites around the world announced the retirement of Hermes Franca. The Jiu-Jitsu black belt is the Brazilian who furthest in the UFC lightweight division, having challenged for the belt in 2007, against Sean Sherk. At the time, he lost by judges’ decision. In an exclusive GRACIEMAG.com interview, our GMA Hermes discussed the decision to hang up his gloves and examines the career.
Your retirement was widely reported, but you hardly addressed the subject. In the end, why stop?
Yeah, I stopped. It was having a hard time concentrating on getting ready for fights. You have to be 100% focused on training and I was teaching and working on my Jiu-Jitsu academy. It was hard, so I said, you know what, I’ll stop’. And I did. I didn’t put aside the things I like, which is to teach and train athletes. I’m teaching a lot of Jiu-Jitsu classes and life goes on. Just I really did stop fighting.
But you won’t do a farewell fight?
No. I did what had to be done.
Which fight marked you most?
All my fights marked me. I remember when I arrived in the United States with nothing, having to work. I ended up getting an opportunity to fight in the Ultimate Fighting Championship and then challenged for the title. I think every fight has its role. Of course, the first in the UFC (victory over Rich Crunkilton, at UFC 42) you never forget! It was bliss.
And who was the opponent that marked you most?
Marcus Aurelio marked me, because he was my teacher from blue to brown belt. It was kind of bothersome but that was my most notable fight.
What will you do now that you will no longer fight MMA?
I have a gym in Oregon and the opening will be March 13. I’ll hold a cool seminar and it’s also realy cool the fact that so many people around here are stoked. Matt Lindland has already spoken with me and Chael Sonnen is here, too. Fabiano “Pega Leve”, a friend of mine, too, so I’m right at home. Good folks here.
But will you be an MMA coach?
For now just Jiu-Jitsu. We have three academies and, in New York (East West Combat Club), after only four months, we already have 60 students. I cannot forget about Jiu-Jitsu. MMA is difficult to teach, it’s a problem, a lot of headaches to teach the athlete. Jiu-Jitsu is exciting and it’s a sport that will never end. Guybson Sa, a tough 21-year-old from Fortaleza, is also here helping me.
The gi is my second skin. Competition Jiu-Jitsu, I’m in” Hermes France
You said you won’t fight MMA. But what about in the gentle art, will you fight?
Absolutely! The gi is my second skin. I intend to fight at the Pan-American, coming up in April. I competed at the last two No-Gi Worlds and have won medals in the past. I like competition and it makes me keep in shape. In Jiu-Jitsu and submission grappling, I’m in.
Would you like to leave a message to someone?
I want to thank all my fans. I would like to ask that anyone in the battle not give up the sport, never give up. For me nothing was easy. I started washing cars in the U.S. and earning $ 200 a week. To get there, I had to fight. And that goes for anything. I ask everyone to never give up their dreams.
Check out some of Hermes’s greatest moments in the ring and cage: