Strikeforce star Roger Gracie is currently one of the most promising light-heavyweight MMA fighters in the world with a perfect 4-0 record.
The problem is that he’s also arguably the best Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu practitioner in the world with a laundry list of titles to prove it, and that’s left him trying to juggle both pursuits in recent years.
Until now that is. Gracie, who’s set to fight former Strikeforce 205lbs champion ‘King Mo’ Lawal on September 10th, has finally come to the decision to focus full-time on his burgeoning MMA career.
“I always knew. It was just a matter of time, of when I’m ready, I’ll fight MMA,” Gracie tells MMAfighting. “I never had any doubts of, Will I do that? That never crossed my mind. It was a natural way for things to happen.”
“Now I feel that I can dedicate 100 percent to MMA,” he continues. “Before, I wanted to do MMA but I still wanted to dedicate time to jiu-jitsu. To do both very well is hard, because one gets in the way of the other. Now, in this day, I’m very happy to compete once a year in the world championships, which I like to do every year. But the rest of the year is dedicated just to MMA.”
This is good news. Gracie is undoubtedly a terrifying prospect for any light-heavyweight fighter on the ground as he’s proven already with four straight submission victories, but we already knew that.
What’s more exciting is that he’s showing signs of developing a good stand-up game to match it. He already has natural physical gifts when it comes to striking, standing 6ft 4″ tall and possessing a 79″ reach – and he knows how to use it, with an intuitive feel for distance and a good solid jab.
His next fight against ‘King Mo’ is a huge test though. If he can get past him then his eventual goal to fight in the UFC looks very likely indeed and the sky could be the limit for this hugely talented 29 year-old.