SPEN's Brett Okamoto sat down with Roger Gracie, who makes his UFC debut vs. Tim Kennedy at UFC 162 on July 6. Headlining the event will be Anderson Silva vs. Chris Weidman. Weidman comes from the Renzo Gracie camp, as does Roger.
Brett Okamoto: Is there an expectation in the family to eventually transition to MMA?
Roger Gracie: Not really. It’s actually the opposite. I’ve had a lot of pressure in my family from uncles and cousins telling me not to do MMA because the sport now it not what it used to be. Now they have massive strong guys and everybody knows jiu-jitsu. They were telling me there is nothing more to prove -- everything has been proven already. But I think each one follows his own path and this is mine.
BO: You expect Kennedy to avoid grappling with you?
RG: It’s hard to say. I’ve seen his fight against Jacare, who, in my opinion, is a much better grappler than he is but he took Jacare down twice. That showed he’s not really afraid to grapple with Jacare. If he tries to grapple with me, though, I will be very surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised if he tries to take me down, but I don’t think he’ll try to grapple with me on the ground.
BO: You’re fighting on the same card as Anderson Silva versus Chris Weidman. Give us your thoughts on that fight.
RG: I think [Weidman] is very, very dangerous. His grappling is at a very high level. He can submit any world-class grappler. I think he’s really that good. He can tap anyone, even me. It’s just a matter of if he can put Anderson in those situations. I would still put my money on Anderson but I think Chris Weidman is dangerous and can surprise him.
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