By Mark Figula, The Mouth of MMA Senior Editor
It was an image few of us would forget. A slender man of 175 pounds, hands raised above his head, our hearts still pounding from this once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to see each fighting art put its money where its mouth was. For many of us, our perception of fighting and martial arts changes drastically on that blustery Denver night.
Now, in the wake of what is one of the biggest announcements the UFC has made in its short life, we sit down with Royce and hear things from a perspective only he can share...
Mark Figula for The Mouth of MMA: More than just about
anyone else in MMA, you know how much the sport has changed from the beginning. Do you like it
better now or have all the rules made it less enjoyable for you?
Royce Gracie: Well, in the beginning it was a style against
a style. Today is more about the athlete against the athlete. Everyone trains standup and
grappling, Gracie Jiu-Jitsu! About the rules... I understand they had to make the changes!
But at least it's even for everyone. The rules goes for both fighters!
The Mouth of MMA: It seems there is more stand up than ever
before in MMA matches. Do you think this is because of the rules or have stand up fighters just
gotten better at defending takedowns?
Royce Gracie: The standup fighters didn't just get better at
defending the take down but they are also practicing the ground game much more. It's a question
"Being competitive is good, but sometimes it can slow down your learning process. You have to let it go and just have fun!"
The Mouth of MMA: How much does fighting in a cage versus a
ring matter to a ground fighter?
Royce Gracie: It doesn't really matter.
The Mouth of MMA: Do you think that with the popularity of
competition BJJ that BJJ schools focus too much on the sport aspect and have forgotten to teach
practical self defense as well?
Royce Gracie: Yes! And that is not what my father created!
He created a self defense style, for the street, for a street fight! Like most martial arts out
there, it was not created to score a point!
The Mouth of MMA: If you could easily make any weight class
right now, who would you most like to fight?
Royce Gracie: Been there. Done that!
I don't pick opponents, never did!
The Mouth of MMA: What is in the future for you in MMA? A
fight on the Brasil card?
Royce Gracie: Maybe...............
The Mouth of MMA: Who else in the Gracie family right now do
you think we will be seeing at the highest level of MMA?
Royce Gracie: There are many cousins and nephews.
Roger is doing very well.
The Mouth of MMA: This question is for all our BJJ readers:
What advice can you give to the guys training who find themselves frustrated, wishing they could
learn faster? What seperates those guys that learn quickly from the ones who seem to struggle?
Royce Gracie: Being competitive is good, but sometimes it
can slow down your learning process. You have to let it go and just have fun!
The Mouth of MMA: Where do you think MMA will be in 10
Royce Gracie: [Laughs] If I had that crystal ball at home, I
would be playing the lotto!!!
Mark "The Ezequiel" Figula is the biggest wuss to ever enter a cage... the most spindly chickenass dude to ever tap out at NAGA... the boy who was told that the pen is mightier than the sword... and thus he writes. Check out his home page of scribblings at www.markfigula.com.