A 1.95-meter (6’4”) light heavyweight in MMA, the lanky Roger Gracie gave an interview on the official Strikeforce website regarding his impending January 29 fight against South Africa’s Trevor Prangley. Check out some excerpts:
Johnny Preston: You are one of the world’s foremost BJJ experts. What is your absolute favorite submission hold?
Roger Gracie: I have many submissions I like. For MMA, taking the back is probably the safest and most effective way to finish.
You beat Kevin Randleman last year, a man considered a pioneer by many MMA fans. He was a bridge from the early days of MMA to the cross-training that became prevalent in the early 2000’s, in that he could do more than one thing well (wrestle and strike with power). Do you feel that, in the same vein, you are the bridge that will take the Gracie family into the next generation of fighting?
Kevin is a great athlete and genuinely one of the nicest gentlemen I have met. He was one of the shining lights in the developing period of MMA, and definitely a pioneer with the training. I am obviously going through all the various training techniques but everybody knows it takes time to master so many different skills. If I can keep fit and keep learning, then slowly I will improve…and who knows after that. The previous generations of Gracie fighters are a tough group to live up to.
Until now, you have only fought every other year. Are you now committed to the MMA game full-time as a career?
I have only fought every other year due to one serious injury which took me nearly a year to recover from. After that logistics and matchmaking have delayed one or two fights but I would like to fight three times a year from here on out. I am ready.
On January 29th, you will face your toughest test to date in the extremely experienced Trevor Prangley. While not known for his striking, he is quite competent. Have you been working on your striking?
It sounds cliché but there are no easy fights with any of these guys. One mistake and the referee will quickly stop the fight. Fighting somebody like Trevor with much more experience than myself will keep me focused on trying to force the fight my way.
Is there somebody in the Strikeforce light heavyweight division that you have your eyes on beyond Prangley?
I never, ever look ahead to the next fight. I think that is the most basic mistake anybody can make. You have an opponent you study, [figure out] what you are going to do, and you try and focus on arriving there for fight night with top fitness and a strong mind.
How do you feel that you match up with fellow Brazilian and the Strikeforce Light Heavyweight Champion “Fejiao?”
Again these things are for other people to talk about. I concentrate on myself. I enjoy watching these guys fight. He fought great, he earned the title, and he is a champion.
What should the fans in attendance and those watching on Showtime expect from Roger Gracie on January 29th?
I will always look to finish the fight before the end of the 3 rounds. It’s my nature.