This Article originally appeared on BJJ.org. The entire archive of information is now available on OntheMat.com
Interview originally published on The New Full Contact
by Mike Ely on 12/2/97Mike Ely: In the Gracie Jiu-Jitsu in Action 2 documentary Rorion Graciesaid that the jiu-jitsu representatives were ordered to punish their luta livre opponents by using strikes rather than submission holds. Did you intentionally defeat Denilson Maia by strikes?
Fabio Gurgel: That was my first fight so I was a little nervous. I tried an arm bar but it’s just so easy for me to throw the punches.
ME: Do you respect the luta livre style?
FG: Yes, I respect all of the fighting styles, luta livre has a lot of great fighters. It is very much like jiu-jitsu without the gi.
ME: Can you explain to me why there is such an on going feud between jiu-jitsu and luta livre?
FG: Jiu-Jitsu has a lot of students in Brazil and Luta Livre tries to do the same thing as jiu-jitsu with out the gi. So there is like a type of competition between the two styles in Brazil.
ME: At UFC 11 you lost by decision to Jerry Bohlander, do you feel that he used an unfair tactic by holding the fence.
FG: No, at that time the fence was allowed to be held so I tried to fight, but he did not break the rules. I think that if we were going to fight again without the fence he doesn’t have a chance because I think that my skills are better than his, but at that time he used the rules so I gave him congratulations. He is a good fighter.
ME: Do you want a rematch with Jerry Bohlander?
FG: Yes I tried to do a rematch two times, one time in Brazil at the WVC, and another time at Pentagon Combat when he said that he doesn’t want to fight me, and he would prefer a fight with Murilo.
ME: Do you think you could have done as good as Murilo Bustamante?
FG: Yes, Murilo did a very good job.
ME: If the judges had given you the decision over Bohlander would you have been able to continue in the tournament?
FG: When the Judge gave the decision to him, I lost the fight. But if the judge gave the decision to me, for sure I’m going to continue. I came there at that time to fight Bohlander and then Tank and then Coleman. I prepared myself to do this.
ME: I believe you would have had little trouble beating Tank but how would you have approached Mark Coleman?
FG: I think that a fight against Coleman is difficult because of the time, and I think it is the same thing with my fight against Kerr. I trained a lot at that time in the guard position, and escapes, and I think that Coleman does not have a good cardiovascular condition. Maybe he can get a time limit. I think it would be a great fight.
ME: Do you think it would be possible for you to beat him in 15 minutes?
FG: Yes I think that anything is possible in the octagon, and I trust a lot in myself and in jiu-jitsu. I’d like to do this fight but at this time I can’t.
ME: Do you have any plans to return to the UFC?
FG: Yes, I think that next time I want to fight in my weight division (198-200). I’m waiting for some promoters who are trying to there so I’m waiting, training. I’m going to fight in January 28th.
ME: Against Willie Peeters?
ME: So back to Jerry Bohlander. If you have a rematch do you want there to be no time limits?
FG: Yeah, I think that is the real fight, you can’t have a time limit. Some times in the tournaments you need them, but I want to fight him with or without a time limit, it’s no problem for me I think that if he can not hold the fence it will be no problem for me.
ME: At World Vale Tudo 3 in your first fight with Pat Smith someone from the crowd pushed Pat, do you know who that was?
FG: The people in the crowd tried to push his arm out the rope but I can’t do nothing about that because the tournament had to put the security outside the ring. I agree with Pat Smith for giving up, and the judge gave the victory to me, but I want to fight with him until the end.
ME: Do you you feel that you won the fight with Mark Kerr?
FG: No I think that Mark Kerr won the fight, I tried to continue the fight and the doctor said I think it’s better to stop because I can’t look at your eye, and I don’t what happened with your eye. So in the rules if you fight 30 minutes the fight is going to go to a decision, draw, or they’re going to let it go ten minutes more. They decided to go to decision and they gave the fight to Kerr. I think that I did a good job with Kerr, he’s 50 or 60 pounds heavier than me.
ME: If there had been no time limit do you think you could have tapped Kerr that night?
FG: I don’t know, maybe yes maybe no, but for sure I would have kept fighting. I’ll never give up, if he can get a knock out then yes but if he can’t…
ME: Would you like a rematch with Mark Kerr?
FG: Yes, maybe another time, but now I want to fight in my weight division, but I want to fight him again, because I think that now that I have seen my mistakes in the fight, I think if I fight him today I can do better.
ME: Who do you think is the best wrestler in no-holds-barred?
FG: I think Kerr is the best wrestler. The wrestlers are very strong, very heavy, and with time limits they can control the fight. I want to see the Royce and Kerr fight without the time limit.
ME: How long do you think that fight will go with no time limit?
FG: I don’t have any idea, maybe 2 hours, maybe 3 hours I don’t know. Helio Gracie once fought for three hours and forty five minutes, maybe Royce can beat the record (laughs).
ME: Do you fight in private dojo matches like the ones Pedro Carvalho holds?
FG: Yes I did some times in Brazil when I was 15, 16 years old, but now I don’t need to prove nothing to nobody so I’m only going to fight in the professional tournaments. I don’t need to fight closed doors. I did have something to prove when I was a teenager but not now.
ME: How about Juan Mott what can you tell me about what is going on with him and Haroldo Bunn? I’ve heard he stole from you.
FG: Haroldo Bunn is in Atlanta and I haven’t talked to him since I visited his school but I read about the troubles with him on the internet. I gave some classes a month ago in Atlanta and Mott was there, and he knew nothing about the ground skills, he’s a white belt and I think that’s not a good guy.
ME: Did he steal from you?
FG: (laughing) stole my hat… he said to me “Okay I’m going to the car and I’ll come back with the money” and I said “Okay no problem, go ahead” and he took off (still laughing) twelve dollars.
ME: That’s pretty hard to believe that someone would do that.
FG: He created an enemy over 12 dollars.
ME: Is there anyone out there that you have never fought that you would like to fight?
FG: I would like to fight against the people who have fought in the UFC in the middleweight division like Kevin Jackson, Guy Metzger, Jerry Bohlander, those are the guys I want to fight against.
ME: Is anyone talking to you about any fights after Willie Peeters?
FG: No, I’m training to fight against Willie Peeters in January 28th, and then I’m waiting for the promoters. I want to fight, in UFC or whatever…maybe Japan.
ME: Do you still compete in sport jiu-jitsu?
FG: For sure.
ME: Do you feel that the sport jiu-jitsu is good practice for no-holds-barred fighting?
FG: Yeah, for sure I feel that the jiu-jitsu is a perfect art so I think that the jiu-jitsu tournaments have a lot of the speed of competition. So the people that won in the tournaments of the black belt in jiu-jitsu, I think they are prepared for no-holds-barred.
ME: Did you do much training with Rickson?
FG: Yes, a lot of times.
ME: Can you tell me about the time you spent with Rickson?
FG: It’s hard times (laughing)….people try to compare Rickson with somebody but no one can compare Rickson in the jiu-jitsu because he’s maybe 20 years forward from everybody. I am the 2 x World Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Champion and when I’m training with him I’m always tapping. He has a lot of skills and I think in jiu-jitsu nobody can beat him.
ME: Do you think Rickson will fight Marco Ruas at Pride 2?
FG: I don’t know if Rickson is going to fight Marco Ruas at Pride 2, but if the fight goes through I don’t think Marco Ruas has a chance. Marco Ruas is a very strong guy but on the ground he is like a blue belt. I don’t believe he will be able to get a knock out with Rickson. You remember he fought against Taktarov 30 minutes in a stand up fight? And he couldn’t get a knock out with him.
ME: Well Fabio thank you very much for allowing me to give you this interview. I wish you good luck in January and hope to speak with you again.
FG: Okay thank you, Mike.
Visit Fabio’s webpage at http://www.fabiogurgel.com.br/