Representing the new generation of the Gracie family in the cages, Robson Gracie Jr. successfully made his MMA debut at Bellator 212, held in Hawaii last December 14th.
To Robson, who saw his first Bellator debut bout get cancelled, the anxiety was a formidable opponent, but with the help of Renzo Gracie, John Danaher, Gordon Ryan and more — as well as some intense training — his body and mind were ready to go when the time came.
The fight was against Brysen Bolohao, and a round-2 choke gave the Brazilian the win.
— Bellator MMA (@BellatorMMA) 15 de dezembro de 2018
We later talked to Robson about the debut, his expectations beforehand, his training, the advice given by Renzo and Royce, and his future plans. Check it out below.
GRACIEMAG.com: How was it to debut in MMA on such a big stage as Bellator? How did you manage your anxiety?
ROBSON GRACIE Jr.: I was very pleased with my debut. Having it happen in such a big event made me even happier. It wasn’t easy controlling my anxiety, but Royce was a guy who helped me a lot. One day before the fight, we talked a lot. He, along with Renzo, helped me control that.
How was the training for the fight? How did the human resources at Renzo Gracie Academy help you go into the fight better than you would otherwise?
Renzo assembled a very strong team here, and Gordon Ryan was a guy who helped me a lot. He and John Danaher would always set aside some time to help me. Besides, we have several other fighters, like Neiman Gracie, who helped a lot too; my cousins Gregor and Rayron; David Branch, Nick Ryan, among so many others. I became more confident, because nothing in the cage would be too different from what I went through at the gym. This made me much calmer.
Can you explain the feeling of mission accomplished after achieving the submission? Does carrying the Gracie name add pressure?
I was very happy, especially with it being a choke. There is that pressure indeed, but I was mentally ready to fight the three rounds. Regardless of the result, just going into the cage was already a dream come true.
Do you miss competing in the gi? Can we look forward to seeing more of that?
Yes, I miss it a lot. But when I get the chance, I’m gonna place a bigger emphasis on no-gi tournaments, just to maintain my rhythm in case I need it, but always making it clear that my focus is MMA.