GRACIEMAG: You spent a week training with GSP in Canada, helping him get ready for UFC 154. How did that go?
BRÁULIO ESTIMA: Training was quite interesting. Nothing too different from what he always does, in terms of the routine, if just because there’s no way for GSP to train more than he already did, is there. He’s always been a born athlete. The only difference now was in the quality of training. He imported a solid team to take part in his camp. He brought in sparring partners with [Carlos] Condit’s style, brought in a team direct from Thailand to help with his Thai boxing, brought me in from England, as well as a bunch of other athletes to help out with his training. The camp was complete. Firas [Zahabi] is an excellent trainer.
In your opinion, how will this main event between GSP and Carlos Condit go this Saturday?
I believe GSP will take Condit down and ground-and-pound him. And when the right moment arises, he’ll finish the fight. But I do feel it will be a long fight. Condit is really tough and strategic too. Even so, I believe GSP will take this one.
What did you make of GSP’s Jiu-Jitsu?
GSP’s Jiu-Jitsu is really good. He always works on the different aspects of the art with Bruno Fernandes [leader of GB Montreal] and John Danaher [of Renzo Gracie NY]. The whole week there’s a team from Renzo Gracie showing up to train. His evolution was apparent over the weeks.
GSP is coming back from injury to both knees…
You know, I didn’t notice any difference at all. And I didn’t see him hold back or complain about his knee at any time.
What wrestling did you learn from him this time?
His wrestling is always a strong point in his game. It’s almost impossible to stop his takedowns. His technical control is impressive, which is no surprise once you’ve seen how many repetitions he does and the time he puts into working on timing takedowns. Now on the ground, I feel he’s one of the few athletes in the UFC who can almost perfectly coordinate punches with Jiu-Jitsu positioning.
How did the MMA part go? Did you two throw down?
I did a lot of the ground aspect of the MMA training, since there were guys a lot better than me to do the striking. There was a selection of specific athletes for each area.
What else did you learn in Canada?
It was a really cool trip. I learned a lot in every way and did my best to share what I know with the other athletes. It was really productive. I did seminars at GB Montreal as well, with my good friend Bruno Fernandes. It was great to see him again. I also visited the black belt Pat Cooligan in Ottowa. This trip was awesome. I plan to return soon.
Back to GSP, what do you admire most in the fighter?
His dedication, focus and perseverance. Time to train is time to train, and nothing can sway his attention. He’s a guy who’s constantly striving to improve. He listens a lot and is an intelligent guy who strings everything he practices together in a unique way.