Robert Drysdale and UFC debut: “Getting the back is the essence of Jiu-Jitsu”

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Drysdale gets the rear naked choke. Photo: Josh Hedges Zuffa LLC Zuffa LLC

Drysdale gets the rear naked choke. Photo: Josh Hedges Zuffa LLC Zuffa LLC

On Sunday, July 6, Drysdale made ​​his UFC debut with mastery. Opening the card of the TUF 19 Finale event, Drysdale clipped the back and grabbed Keith Berish’s neck at 2min03s in the first round. It was the seventh win in the career of the Jiu- Jitsu black belt world champion (among heavyweights since 2005).

Zenith Jiu-Jitsu’s leader alongside Rodrigo Cavaca, the American with Brazilian blood talked to GRACIEMAG about the submission, unraveled how he got the back and analyzed his future in Dana White’s organization. Check it out and learn from it.


GRACIEMAG: How did you feel before the UFC debut, Drysdale?

ROBERT DRYSDALE: Believe it or not, the pressure I felt on entering the octagon was the same I always felt since I started competing in Jiu-Jitsu, since white belt. The only pressure I feel is the one I put on myself. The general public does not affect me. I think my debut was good, I’m my biggest critic, and then I was able to observe several mistakes I made. But I’m happy with my performance. It will never be perfect, right? Rodrigo Cavaca and Marcus Buchecha were there with me, and Cavaca was once again an excellent corner. My only regret was not being able to train with Buchecha: when he arrived I was already in the process of losing weight.

What was the detail to clip Keith Berish’s back effectively?

In MMA, people have the greatest fear of getting on their backs when fighting on the ground so they always turn their back to stand up. Because I come from Jiu-Jitsu, that is good for me. After getting the back, I closed a padlock and wrapped the neck to finish. Getting the back is the essence of Jiu-Jitsu to me. I practice it a lot in the cage, against the wall, and with gloves. The glove is very disruptive and you need to get used to them. As for fighting against the wall, is good and bad. It can be used in your favor or against you.

How do you see your future in this light heavyweight category, which has Jon Jones as the champion?

I really want to fight before the end of the year. Because I am free from wounds, I believe that I will be fighting soon. I have already imagined myself fighting against all the guys in the category. I do not like to think far ahead, I know my place in the UFC – Just got here now. My focus today is therefore to correct my mistakes and improve a little each day.

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