Responsible for bringing MMA up in Japan one year after Royce got things started in the UFC, Rickson Gracie evaluated the evolution of the sport and related that, in his opinion, pure Jiu-Jitsu has no space left.
“No, things have changed," said Gracie. "Nowadays the rules impose a rhythm to the bout, conditioning and a game plan which imposes Jiu-Jitsu to have a determined shape."
“If you take off time and weight (limits) you might add some technique, game plan, conditioning and a way of thinking. From the moment it’s a five-minute three-round fight, you spend some energy, lose 17 to 22 pounds to fight, and you have a high level training technology."
To Rickson, a great part of Jiu-Jitsu lessons used at gyms and big Jiu-Jitsu tournaments, are useless in MMA.
“You may use like 30 percent of Jiu-Jitsu," Rickson explains. “You can’t put Royce or any other guy only using it… Technology has changed the sport a lot in terms of how much you train, the capacity of losing weight to fight… It’s completely different. You can use many Jiu-Jitsu things, but the body is your main element."
Things have changed so much that TATAME asked Rickson to point out athletes who astonish him now, and he did not list any Jiu-Jitsu guy.
“Jon Jones and Anderson Silva”, says Rickson. “They are really controlling the scene. You can’t say anything about them. They are smart, well conditioned and they fight in high level."