Kayron Gracie is finishing up his preparations for his upcoming 20-minute encounter with Rafael Lovato Jr. One of four Gracie family representatives at Metamoris Pro, a Jiu-Jitsu event that takes place this Sunday in San Diego, California, the grandson of Carlos Gracie and son of Carlos Gracie Jr. is confident the training he put in has him in tip-top shape for the match. In the following interview, Kayron talks about the days leading up to the match, analyzes his opponent, says he has more faith in technique than in brute force in a 20 minute match, and reveals that he is already planning for a career in MMA.
What’s the greatest danger Rafael Lovato Jr. poses, and what do you think he might do to surprise you?
Lovato’s a really experienced fighter who’s been competing for a long time, so I’m sure he’ll have some tricks up his sleeve.
Does the fact that points won’t be counted change how you see the fight?
It’s something new to competition. I’m interested to see how it will turn out but I don’t think it will change my style of fighting. I always hunt the submission.
What’s it like having to juggle managing your academy, teaching and preparing for competition?
It’s no walk in the park (laughs). It’s really tough but I feel that teaching helps a lot in your Jiu-Jitsu’s evolution.
What was your training like for this Metamoris event, and who helped you?
Training has been going great. There are a lot of guys helping out, but the guys who’ve helped me most are Otavio Sousa, Philipe Della Monica, Aj Agazarm. There was also the Vinícius Draculino training camp, which was packed with tough guys. And there’s Roger Gracie, who arrived this week.
Who’ll be cornering you in the match?
Marcio Feitosa will be in my corner.
This match with Rafael was supposed to have happened at the World Jiu-Jitsu Expo but ended up getting canceled because you got hurt. Now how are you feeling? Are you 100% yet?
A lot of people ask me that. I’m 110%!
What’s the difference between competing at IBJJF championships and doing a 20-minute supermatch without points at Metamoris?
It’ll be a new experience. I’m curious.
How did your physical-conditioning work go for this match?
I’ve done all my physical conditioning but focused more on training. I think that with it being a 20-minute match, technique will prevail over force.
What do you think of BJJ today, and what do you see in athletes’ and BJJ’s future?
You can tell that Jiu-Jitsu has grown a lot over these past few years; still I feel it’s just the beginning. Jiu-Jitsu has what it takes to be one of the biggest sports in the world.
Are you thinking of doing MMA in the future?
I plan to, yes. Who wouldn’t want to represent the Gracie name in the ring (laughs)?