GARDENA, Calif. – UFC 162’s Roger Gracie carries a last name that resonates through UFC hallways like none other. That being the case, the Jiu-Jitsu champion will debut in the organization this Saturday with the intention of carrying on the legacy his family started way back in 1993 at UFC 1.
It brings smiles to the face of the 185-pound Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
“It makes me very happy,” Gracie told The Choke MMA Show earlier this week. “We made history, especially at the beginning. I think it is a good feeling to carry on the legacy that my family created.”
Being in the position Gracie is in comes with a tremendous amount of pressure, as he’s the only member of his family currently competing in the organization. From his perspective, however, it’s not a big deal.
Gracie explained that being a member of the legendary Jiu-Jitsu family already comes with intense pressure. At this point, there’s no amount of additional weight that he can’t handle.
“Pressure always existed being a Gracie,” he said. “I’ve been fighting for so long and I’ve been dealing with the pressure ever since I was born – being a fighter that has to do well. Because you have a Gracie name, everyone expects you to fight and do great things … I think I’ve been dealing with that pretty well. I don’t think you can put any more pressure on my shoulders. I’m pretty used to it.”
For his Octagon debut, Gracie will take on fellow Strikeforce alum Tim Kennedy. With five of six of Gracie’s wins coming by way of submission, it’s tough to bet that he won’t be looking for the same kind of outcome at UFC 162.
Admittedly, though, Gracie said he has to be very careful in his match with Kennedy. It’s the ones that you don’t pay enough attention to, he said, that tend to give the most negative results.
“I think Tim Kennedy is a great fighter,” he claimed. “He’s coming from Strikeforce, too, and he’s on a very high level. He’s very complete. His stand-up is good, his ground work is good, his wrestling, conditioning, so I have to take this fight very carefully. I can’t underestimate him. The ones that you underestimate are the ones you end up losing.”
The multiple-time Jiu-Jitsu world champion, training out of Black House in Los Angeles, said he’s very well prepared for the showdown in Las Vegas. On fight night, he obviously hopes to come out on top, but he wouldn’t guarantee a win. Instead, Gracie said his strong beliefs will shine while continuing the legacy of his family.
“I really believe in myself and I trained really hard for this fight,” he explained. “I can’t predict that I will win, but I truly believe that I have a very big chance.
“I’ll working very hard for that goal.”