Rickson Gracie Freefight interview

This Article originally appeared on BJJ.org. The entire archive of information is now available on OntheMat.comFrom FreeFight magazine (Japan)Translated by KutiFall 1997

This interview took place soon after Rickson’s defeat of Takada in Japan on October 11, 1997.

FreeFightWere you surprised your match with Takada was so short?

RicksonI am never surprised at a quick match. If my opponent makes a mistake, I will capitalize whether it is one minute or ten minutes.

FreeFightHow did you prepare for your fight with Takada?

RicksonSparring with Royler for a month prior to the fight. Royler has the Warrior mentality and is a very good trainer.

FreeFightWhat was it like growing up in Brazil?

RicksonI had a very good childhood. My father never hit us kids, if we got in trouble at school we would not be allowed to go surfing. I use the same philosophy raising my kids.

FreeFightWill you ever compete in the Ultimate Fighting Championship?

RicksonI don’t see it ever happening. The UFC is just small time and doesn’t have the quality of fighters or the money that Japan has to offer. I only fight for two reasons, pride and to take care of my family.

FreeFightSo do you mean fighters like Maurice Smith and Mark Kerr aren’t on the same levels as the fighters here in Japan?

RicksonExactly. When I watch them fight, I see so many openings that even my son could capitalize on. I’m not saying they are bad fighters, just that I see many holes in them.

FreeFightHow would you see a match with Mark Kerr going?

RicksonKerr is a big strong guy with a good base. I would imagine him tiring out and giving me an opening.

FreeFightWhat was your toughest match ever?

RicksonI really haven’t had a tough match, just matches that last longer than others.

FreeFightWhat was your longest match?

RicksonDefinately Equada. He was 6’7″ and at least 340 lbs.

FreeFightHow long did that fight go and how did you finish him.

RicksonIt went fifty minutes. I triangled him and he passed out. Very tough guy.

FreeFightWhy is there distance between you and Rorian?

RicksonThat is family business and something I would rather not discuss.

FreeFightWhat are your impressions of Vitor Belfort?

RicksonGood young fighter, with excellent punching ability. I question how he went from purple to black belt though. As far as I know, he never competed in Jiu Jitsu tournaments in Brazil.

FreeFightIs it true that you were going to take Vitor under your wing?

RicksonI told him if he comes to train with me, it has to be either me or Carlson.

FreeFightWhat happens when you roll with him?

RicksonIt has been two years but he is not a superstar on the ground. With gi he taps quickly. Without it takes a little longer.

FreeFightWho is the greatest fighter ever?

RicksonWithout a doubt Helio Gracie.

FreeFightAre you acquainted with the Machado brothers?

RicksonI see them at tournaments and we have a good time.

FreeFightWho do you feel is the best Machado?


FreeFightHave yourself and Rigan ever fought in jiu-jitsu?

RicksonYes, on two occasions. The first time Rigan was very aggressive and had to quit due to exhaustion. The second time, six years ago in an exhibition match in Rio, I choked him out with two minutes remaining.

FreeFightHas you ever lost in any grappling competition?

RicksonNot since I got my blackbelt.

FreeFightThere are rumors that you lost a Sambo match in America.

RicksonYes, you did not hear the whole story. The rules were not properly explained to me so I was at a disadvantage. How can you play a game if you aren’t told the rules?

FreeFightCan we expect to see you fight anytime soon?

RicksonYes, I am negotiating right now to fight a very big name Japanese fighter in mid 1998.

FreeFightI would like to thank you for sharing you time with us.

RicksonMy pleasure.

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