FanPost

Daniel Gracie Talks about his return to MMA


Daniel Gracie interview

Recently FightsWeWant.com had the opportunity to talk with Daniel Gracie about his upcoming return to MMA. Daniel Gracie is a 5 time Champion in the Jiu-Jitsu Brazilian Nationals, a 2 time Champion in the Mundials, finished 3rd in the Abu Dhabi World Submission Championship in 2005 and is 4-2-1 in MMA competition. Gracie had just finished teaching a seminar at Real World Martial Arts/Renzo Gracie Denville NJ when we sat down to talk at a nearby café. 

FWW: Daniel, You haven’t fought since 2006, why did you stop fighting?

DG: First because I was trying to open a school.

FWW: Is that the Gracie Stamford location you currently teach at?

DG: No, my idea was to open a school in Miami. Renzo invited me to come to New York but the problem was I didn’t know how to teach in English. My English was good but not to teach. I didn’t know how to teach a class in English so I asked Renzo to put me to work in his academy so I can learn how to teach in English. So when I wanted to fight again and I start to train, I get injured. My arm gets stuck and I lose 70 percent of my movement in my arm and I can’t fight like that. All those years I am feeling this pain but I am trying to get back. So I go to Mark DeLagrotti’s school and I get in to shape to fight but that’s when my arm gets really bad. I had two surgeries on my arm but they didn’t do anything. They open my arm but they didn’t do anything. It didn’t get any better so last year I went to Brazil and then I get my doctor, the doctor that I trust, he looks at my elbow and asked “who did this surgery?” I told him “the best doctor in New York.” He said “He didn’t do anything, he opened up your elbow, saw the mess that was in there, took a few bone spurs out and that was it.” He said “your elbow has a lot of bone spurs in there so what we are going to do is perform surgery again.” So that’s what we did. I had my third surgery in Brazil. Fifteen days after the surgery I was feeling ready to train again, I could move my elbow, there was no pain, and I could lift weights again. I used to work out and the next day and have to ice my elbow all day. I used to wake up every night crying because of the pain. My elbow is fixed so now it is time to fight.

FWW: You now have a firm date for the fight?


DG: November 9th

FWW: What promotion will it be with?

DG: Israel Fighting Championship, in Tel Aviv. That is where I am fighting, and the card has a lot of big names.

FWW: Who are some of the fighters who will be on the card with you?

DW: We have…(Jeff Monson, Frank Trigg, Ricco Rodriguez, Hermes Franca, Sokoudjou on the card) check the website http://ifc.org.il/), there are more names I can’t think of right now. Actually they had the card closed already when my manager called them to say I wanted to fight and they said “we are going to open it up so you can fight.”

FWW: so who are you fighting?

DG: Martin Wojcik.

FWW: you have six MMA fights already yes?

DG: I have seven; I am 4-2-1. One was the draw with Wes Sims. He head butted me and stepped on my face while I was getting an arm bar. So I end up the fight…

FWW: They should have disqualified him.

DG: Yes but they should have disqualified me too because I kneed him when he was down, but he wasn’t really down he was holding himself up on the ropes. The thing is, because he kneed me in the face when the referee stopped the fight, it was Mario Yamasaki, he stopped the fight while he was in my guard because he head butted me. We went up and waited for the referee to start us in the guard again. I have my hand on my knees bent over and Wes Sims is in front of me. When Mario turned and said “Go” I was in the position with my hands on my knees and Wes Sims threw a knee and BAM I went down. I recovered from the knock down and because I was training for the rules that I was used to, where you can knee him on the ground my body reacted, so I kneed him and knocked him out and then after I realized what I did. I didn’t feel bad because he head butted me and stepped on my face while I was going for an arm bar. The commission in Ohio thought that we both did wrong so let’s turn it into a draw. Then the second time we fought I choked him out (laughs).


FWW: You probably get asked this all the time but, having the Gracie name do you feel any added pressure?

DG: I used to because we wanted to prove that Jiu Jitsu was the best way to fight and we proved that already. There is no MMA fighter that is going to win without learning Jiu Jitsu. So the pressure came before when we were trying to prove that Jiu Jitsu was the best fighting style. Today everybody knows that, so we don’t have that pressure on our backs anymore. I can now go into a fight thinking that this guy knows Jiu Jitsu and if he beats me he did it using Jiu Jitsu. What I don’t want is if some guy is against Jiu Jitsu and has never trained it in his life, then I will feel the pressure to win the fight.

FWW: Have you trained any differently because of the injury to the arm?

DG: No because when my arm was bad I was teaching a lot of MMA and Jiu Jitsu. By teaching my knowledge of MMA got better, I am understanding the MMA game better and learning the timing through teaching. It’s not just Jiu Jitsu, or Wrestling or Muay Thai, it’s the timing that puts it all together. If you do Jiu Jitsu in one place and Muay Thai in one place and don’t put it together it doesn’t work because you never learn the time to use those skills.

FWW: But that’s how a lot of guys train.

DG: Exactly, I think the future of MMA is that, of course everyone will have a background but they will train doing everything and that’s the way guys doing MMA will survive.

FWW: How are you balancing being a Father, a husband, running the Renzo Academy in Stamford and training for your upcoming fight?

DG: First, if you have a family, you have to have a wife that supports you one hundred percent. My wife supports me one hundred percent, if I say that I need to go to the moon to prepare for a fight, she would say go. If you have someone who doesn’t help you it is going to be impossible. Teaching is my profession so I have to make the time to teach. What is good about teaching Jiu Jitsu and MMA is that you can build your schedule around training. Jiu Jitsu is something people like to do in the morning or at night. That gives me the whole afternoon to train. If I had a regular job it would be impossible. Also, because we have so many black belts and so many people who want to help us I can put a friend of mine in to teach for a month while I train. It’s not like I work in a law office where I say, “ok my friend, I am going to take a month off to train so you are going to handle my cases.” (laughing). As soon as they know you are preparing for a fight they get more excited and more pleased to help you.

FWW: You probably get asked this all the time but, having the Gracie name do you feel any added pressure?

DG: I used to because we wanted to prove that Jiu Jitsu was the best way to fight and we proved that already. There is no MMA fighter that is going to win without learning Jiu Jitsu. So the pressure came before when we were trying to prove that Jiu Jitsu was the best fighting style.

Today everybody knows that, so we don’t have that pressure on our backs anymore. I can now go into a fight thinking that this guy knows Jiu Jitsu and if he beats me he did it using Jiu Jitsu. What I don’t want is if some guy is against Jiu Jitsu and has never trained it in his life, then I will feel the pressure to win the fight.

FWW: Have you trained any differently because of the injury to the arm?

DG: No because when my arm was bad I was teaching a lot of MMA and Jiu Jitsu. By teaching my knowledge of MMA got better, I am understanding the MMA game better and learning the timing through teaching. It’s not just Jiu Jitsu, or Wrestling or Muay Thai, it’s the timing that puts it all together. If you do Jiu Jitsu in one place and Muay Thai in one place and don’t put it together it doesn’t work because you never learn the time to use those skills.

FWW: But that’s how a lot of guys train.

DG: Exactly, I think the future of MMA is that, of course everyone will have a background but they will train doing everything and that’s the way guys doing MMA will survive.

FWW: How are you balancing being a Father, a husband, running the Renzo Academy in Stamford and training for your upcoming fight?

DG: First, if you have a family, you have to have a wife that supports you one hundred percent. My wife supports me one hundred percent, if I say that I need to go to the moon to prepare for a fight, she would say go. If you have someone who doesn’t help you it is going to be impossible. Teaching is my profession so I have to make the time to teach. What is good about teaching Jiu Jitsu and MMA is that you can build your schedule around training. Jiu Jitsu is something people like to do in the morning or at night. That gives me the whole afternoon to train. If I had a regular job it would be impossible. Also, because we have so many black belts and so many people who want to help us I can put a friend of mine in to teach for a month while I train. It’s not like I work in a law office where I say, “ok my friend, I am going to take a month off to train so you are going to handle my cases.” (laughing). As soon as they know you are preparing for a fight they get more excited and more pleased to help you.



FWW:
With regards to MMA, if you had to pick two fighters, (regardless of league affiliations, camps etc.) you would want to see fight, who would they be?

DG: Definitely I want to see Anderson Silva and Georges St. Pierre.

FFW: FightsWeWant.com is inclusive of all combat sports so if we asked the same question, what about Jiu Jitsu? Who would you want to see compete against each other?

DG: I would like to see Roger with like…I can’t see anybody who can beat him, you know? (Laughs) All the tough opponents who can face Roger come from our school (Renzo Gracie Academy). I would like to see Roger and Xande Ribiero again.

FWW: Daniel, I want to thank you again for taking the time to talk to us. We look forward to seeing you fight again on November 9th and we wish you the best of luck.

DG: Thank you guys, anytime.


Interview by
Alex Kennedy

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