To whom much is given, much is expected.
ONE Fighting Championship's Gregor Gracie was given a name. He was born into more than just a family. He was born into mixed martial arts (MMA) royalty.
If your last name is Gracie, people expect great things. The bar has been set high. Maybe it's unfair, but the fact remains: There is a legacy that Gregor Gracie cannot run away from.
Luckily for Gregor, MMA has always felt like home to him. No one had to prod him to find a gym and hit the mats.
"Since my first thoughts as a person, I've been on the mats. My first teacher was Renzo (Gracie) when he still lived in Rio!"
On, Sat., Sep. 3 (2011), Gregor Gracie will find himself in the middle of the biggest fight of his life and an opportunity for him to show that he is a genuine welterweight contender. Gregor will be fighting in front of 12,000 people at the Singapore Indoor Stadium and an enormous viewing audience watching the event on domestic television in Singapore, all across Asia on ESPN Star Sports and all over the world on an Internet stream.
"I am very excited and hope for a great fight for the fans. But even though there are millions watching all my focus is on one man, my opponent."
That opponent is Wang Sai, a Sanda champion who fights out of the China Top Team camp. Sai is 4-2-1 in his MMA career and should pose a real threat for Gracie. Sai will be looking to take down the newest addition to the army of famous fighters to spring forth from the Gracie well.
Gregor is aware of the big bull's-eye on his back. He embraces the Gracie family name and everything that comes along with it.
"Representing my family doesn't add any pressure. I was born like this and it was always the same. I learned how to deal with it, and it does not affect me. Everyone wants to beat a Gracie, but nobody wants to lose. It doesn't matter who is on the other side. I think that people fight hard no matter what. It just depends on if he has it in him or not!"
ONE FC will feature rules that are a combination of the Unified MMA rules employed by Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) and the rules that were used by former Japanese promotion PRIDE (which allows for head stomps and soccer kicks). Gregor spoke about the PRIDE rules, fighting in Asia and the future of the promotion for which he'll be fighting on Sep. 3.
"Yes I'm very excited to fight under those rules. I grew up watching my relatives fighting under those rules and I finally get the chance to fight also!
Renzo gave me some good advice about fighting in Asia. He knows very well from his days with the PRIDE organization. I'm arriving one week before the fight so I get used to the time difference.
It's been great and I think ONE FC has great potential to be the new PRIDE!"
Gracie will look to push his record to 6-1, defend his family name and help to propel ONE FC into the hearts and minds of MMA fans across the world.
For more info on Gregor, his upcoming fight or for general information about ONE FC, check out www.onefc.com.
You Maniacs excited for the ONE FC debut? Are you planning on watching the card? Will Gregor be able to live up the expectations placed upon him?