One of the all-time greatest phenoms of Jiu-Jitsu, Roger Gracie arrived at Team Nogueira’s Rio de Janeiro headquarters this week. In his efforts to build a successful a career in the MMA cage as he’s achieved on the mats, the black belt is going through training with Rodrigo and Rogério Nogueira’s team to prepare for his fight with Anthony Smith at the Jan. 12 Strikeforce event.
Today and on Monday, the Gracie sparred with Antônio “Bigfoot” Silva, who will be fighting Alistair Overeem at UFC 156 in February 2013.
“Just to have a chance to train with Rodrigo, Rogério and Pezão [Bigfoot] is great enough a pleasure as it is. But there are a bunch of other great guys to train with here, which has been excellent for me. There’s Rafael Feijão, who’s a tough guy, and others. I feel I’ve gotten into a good rhythm for my fight in January. If I can take Pezão down, for example, I’m in great shape for my fight at Strikeforce,” said the Gracie with a smile.
With his seventh professional fight in sight, Roger guarantees that he won’t be avoiding his trademark game when he goes up against Anthony Smith at the last Strikeforce event, ever. On an eventual move to the UFC, he opted to steer clear of any assertions and leave it in the hands of his handlers.
“I always expect to win. I want to get the fight to the ground, where I’m at home. Regardless of how much I train stand-up fighting, there will always be a risk that I don’t feel I’d be running if it’s on the ground. I won’t go off half-cocked, but I will wait for the right moment to take him down. It’ll be that game of chess: me trying to get it to the ground, him trying to hit me. I’ve seen some of Anthony Smith’s fights, [and] he’s got impressive reach. On the speculations about my future, I try not getting involved,” he said in closing.
Gracie made his professional MMA debut in 2006, defeating Ron Waterman. His first fight under the Strikeforce banner was in 2010 against veteran Kevin Randleman, a fight that resulted in a submission win for Gracie. His latest outing, Gracie’s first as a middleweight, ended in a unanimous decision over Keith Jardine.
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