This Article originally appeared on BJJ.org. The entire archive of information is now available on OntheMat.comFrom FreeFight magazine (Japan)Translated by Sato
This interview between FreeFight magazine and Rickson Gracie took place after Pride 2, in April 1998.
FFThere are rumors that you are in negotiations at this time to fight Takada once again at the Pride event.RGYes, this is true. Expect to hear an announcement in the near future.
FFWhy fight Takada again and not a top fighter like Koshaka, Sato, or even an American like Kerr?RGI feel Takada is a warrior and deserves the chance to try and redeem himself.
FFAre you even going to fight in a tournament again?RGIf the money is there, I will fight in a tournament, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.
FFWho do you feel are the best fighters today?RGI feel Kerr and Erickson are very strong and that Sato and Sperry have excellent technique. But the biggest challenger would have to be Erickson.
FFHow do you feel about the recent losses of Jiu-jitsu such as Conan and John Lewis.RGWith Conan, you just have a big guy trying to use power over technique so there is no surprise there. With Lewis, here is a guy who is a blue belt with me and a year after leaving my school becomes a blackbelt? I think the situation explains itself.
FFFrank Shamrock has been very succesful in the UFC events beating such fighters as Kevin Jackson and Igor Zinoviev. How would you approach a fight with him?RGI would approach a fight with Shamrock just as any other fight. I feel that the fighters he fought are tough but nothing special when it comes to technical ability.
FFSo you are saying that a Olympic Gold Medalist like Kevin Jackson has low technique?RGYes, I feel his technique needs alot of work before he can be considered a top fighter. He just seems to say “here is my arm” and that is the end of the fight. That is one of the negatives of wrestlers, that they use mostly power and throw technique out the window.
FFIn our last interview, you claim that you did not know the rules when you fought in a Sambo tournament in the U.S. against Ron Tripp, therefore it should not be considered a loss, but I see on your record that you had competed in other Sambo events prior to this.RGYou must understand that each tournament was not the same. Not every Sambo tournament has the exact same rules. If I had known that getting thrown on your back was a loss, this would not have happened. If Mr. Tripp would like to fight NHB, I’m sure the promoters could set this up.
FFWhat do you say to the people who criticize you and say that you only fight “weak” opponents and are dodging the top fighters like Kerr?RGI tell them, if somebody wants to fight me that bad then come to my school.
FFBut you were offered to take Royce’s place in the Pride event and declined. Why?RGI never take a fight on 1 month notice. If they want me to fight Kerr, then give me three months in advance.
FFWould you ever fight another Jiu-jitsu figher in NHB?RGOf course I would. We were in negotiations to fight Sperry in the next Pride event until Carlson told Sperry, “No”.
FFWould you fight another Gracie in a NHB event?RGThere are a select few Gracie’s that I would fight just to shut their mouths. They have said negative things about my father and I would fight to defend his honor.
FFCan you tell us which Gracie’s?RGCarley for one, he tells everybody that he was family champion and how that other Gracie’s are scared of him. Why doesn’t he tell what happened to him 12 years ago? And Vitor Belfort who Carlson “adopted”? I gave this kid the chance to train with me and he declined. No problem there, but then he shoots his mouth off about how Rickson is getting old and can’t punch. Let’s just say that Vitor didn’t last long on the mat with me before, and he wouldn’t last any longer now.
FFWould you ever fight in the UFC?RGNo, the UFC pays small dollar compared to Japan.
FFHow do you feel Rigan will do in the upcoming UFC if he fights as expected?RGRigan! Boy, all I can say is look out. Rigan is as good as they get. I don’t know who he is fighting or if he will fight, but all I can say to his opponent is “good luck”.
FFDo you have any plans to retire in the near future?RGNo, it’s not something I think about. I feel like I am 25 years old.
FFWhat are your opinions of Hugo Duarte?RGI feel he is a decent fight but has a big mouth. I beat him 2 times already but he keeps running his mouth. So finally last year in Japan I ran into him at the Pride event and confront him. He says nothing and his students pull him away. A coward?
FFAny thing you want to say to your fans before we wrap this interview up?RGAll I can say is thank you for all your support and be looking forward to my next fight with Takada.
FFThank you for your time.RGIt’s been my pleasure.