GRACIEMAG.com: The promoters of Metamoris Pro, coming up on the 14th in San Diego, California, matched you up against Otavio Sousa in one of the no-points, 20-minute bouts on the card. Have you changed the way you train at all because of the rules?
KRON GRACIE: Not at all. I’m training the same as I always do. I’m training hard with my team here at the academy. Everything’s perfect. I fight targeting the finish, without thinking about points or time, so nothing has changed. I’m just training really hard because it’ll be a tough match. I’m rotating through the students on the team. There’s Patrick, who just got his black belt not long ago, and other really tough students who are helping me out too.
You got injured at the 2012 Worlds. How’s your knee?
It’s 110%. I’m as ready for war as can be. I’m just waiting for time to come.
What guidance has your father, Rickson, offered you about the new rules?
He’s made some special recommendations, but I can’t reveal them to you, can I (laughs)? He’ll be there in my corner on the 14th. Truth is, I always have my dad helping me, whether at the academy or over the phone when he’s in Brazil or traveling.
What are your thoughts on this no-points format?
To me it’s like a dream. I’m anxious to see how things flow. I think I’ll be a lot more at ease, since I’ll have time to work. I’m certainly a bit happier that we’ll have a bit more time to see who’s the better fighter.
Are the rules good for the sport and Jiu-Jitsu fans?
I think we’ll find that out after the event. As André Galvão told you, what’s important is that the fighters don’t go in there just trying for the draw. The rules are perfect for you to go on the attack and win the fight. That’s what’s important—wanting to win the fight. If the athletes are going for victory, and not just aiming to tie or not lose, the event will be really cool. Otherwise, it could be a boring 20 minutes.
What do you think of Otavio Sousa as an opponent?
Otavio is the current world middleweight champion and I think he’s really tough. He gave me a chance to face him, so I’m honored to fight the champion. Let’s see who wins.
What’s your angle on the current Jiu-Jitsu-tournament panorama?
In my opinion, it’s on the decline. I feel Jiu-Jitsu is getting worse. These days we see blue and purple belts who think Jiu-Jitsu’s all about grabbing the sleeve and trying those little sweeps… I feel they lose time with all that and the sport is getting worse with that kind of game. But no one can control that—not me; I can only do my best to see that Jiu-Jitsu keeps moving forward, upward. I feel beginners these days need to get inspired by Jiu-Jitsu as a whole, not just sport Jiu-Jitsu. I want to do this match at Metamoris so fans can see the real Jiu-Jitsu.
How do you see the future of competition Jiu-Jitsu?
In the future, I hope there’ll be more events like Metamoris, events that can make the fighters comfortable to express themselves and that are more interesting for the crowd to watch. I feel that that’s how Jiu-Jitsu will make it to TV and to an Olympic level. That’s the path, and not through the stalled matches we’re seeing these days. I feel there should be more rules against stalling in Jiu-Jitsu. Look at judo—you can’t stop, can’t do certain things.
What’s it like to train hard while managing an academy?
I feel it’s like having two jobs. It’s kind of hard; you have to do everything at the academy and still train not just to fight, but to try and be at your best. I try doing what I can as best I can. When it’s possible, it’s possible. Today I’m focused on training, but soon my focus will be back on training my students and investing in the business.
André Galvão had some kind words about you here on GRACIEMAG.com, saying you stick your neck out at championships. What did you think of that?
He’s a great guy who I respect a lot. I feel that when we realize there are guys out there like us, guys who are going after the same thing you are, that naturally generates mutual respect, even if you’re opponents on the mat. He, like the others, is a warrior who is always in Jiu-Jitsu to win it. I respect him and other top guys, like Marcelo Garcia, Roger, Rodolfo and others.
Do you ever think of doing MMA?
Of course, that’s certainly on my mind. I love competing, love representing Jiu-Jitsu and my team. Just let me get to a point where I can focus on that and it’ll happen. You can count on it.