John Crouch, head trainer to Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) lightweight champion Ben Henderson, tells BJPenn.com he believes the Cesar Gracie Fight Team may be the best mixed martial arts (MMA) camp in the country, if not the world.
As Crouch prepares "Smooth" for his second title defense against Gracie-trained Nate Diaz at UFC on FOX 5 this weekend (Dec. 8, 2012) in Seattle, Washington, he knows just what kind of effective game planning and winning results Cesar and his team of coaches can produce.
"I have complete confidence in Benson; we've never gone into a fight where I thought we were going to lose. I totally believe Ben can finish the fight. With that being said, Nate Diaz and Cesar Gracie probably believe the same thing. Nate deserves this shot, that camp is severely underrated. Because they talk a little bit doesn't hide the fact that they may be the best camp in the country, if not the world. Their guys are tough, they always scrap and they are good everywhere. They have heart and I think my favorite part about them is their sense of team and their sense of community within their school. I am a huge fan of Cesar Gracie. With that being said, we're going to win on December 8th."
Regardless of the fact that neither of Gracie's fighters have yet to taste UFC gold, the famed fight camp does house current and former champions of other organizations such as former Strikeforce middleweight kingpin Jake Shields, current Strikeforce lightweight champion Gilbert Melendez and former Strikeforce and World Extreme Cagefighting (WEC) welterweight champ, Nick Diaz.
The younger of the Diaz boys, Nate, would be the first of the group to become a champion inside the Octagon should he top Benson in "The Emerald City."
The "Scrap Pack" definitely ranks among the very best when it comes to the quality of MMA training camps, but, is it the cream of the crop? Or does that other famous training camp in Albuquerque, New Mexico, top them?
Or maybe even those "Blackzilians" in sunny Florida?