Longtime mixed martial arts (MMA) veteran and all around Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu (BJJ) wizard. Renzo Gracie, has not seen action inside a cage or a ring since his loss at the hands of Matt Hughes at UFC 112 two years ago.
That, however, hasn't stopped him from keeping busy in the MMA world---Jiu Jitsu to be exact. In fact, the sixth-degree black belt created and is the president of the first-ever World Jiu-Jitsu Expo, which is set to go down on May 12, 2012 in Long Beach, California.
The expo will feature many of today's top jiu-jitsu practitioners from all over the world who will convene in Long Beach to see who indeed is the slickest submission artist of them all.
The inaugural show will feature a very intriguing "superfight" as former Strikeforce Welterweight Champion and recently retired Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) contender Nick Diaz will take on one of the best Jiu-Jitsu players in the world in second degree black belt, Braulio Estima, at 180 pounds.
Estima, who is currently preparing for his MMA debut later this year with the help of UFC Light Heavyweight contender Rashad Evans and the rest of the "The Blackzillians" down in Florida, is one of the most decorated grapplers in the sport today. Estima has won the prestigious Abu Dhabi Combat Club (ADCC) championship twice, and is a three-time world champion with 13 gold medals in total while competing at the Pan American Championships, European Championship and Nogi Pan American Championships.
Basically, he's an all-around certified submission badass.
Though he doesn't have quite the same credentials as Estima, Diaz, who is a black belt under Cesar Gracie, is no slouch when it comes to the submission game. Nick currently has nine victories via submission under his belt, though he has proven that the stand-up game is his preference.
So how did his match-up with Braulio come to be? Appearing on the most recent edition of The MMA Hour, Renzo reveals that Diaz himself asked for the bout, stating that he wanted to be matched up against the best and Gracie goes on to say that the match will be a very tough test for the Stockton slugger.
Check it out:
"It's going to be a tough fight, especially under those rules of just jiu-jitsu, a very tough fight. If the fight was an MMA fight, it would be different ball game, but, the fact that it is just jiu-jitsu, it's going to be a real test for Nick because Braulio is the best out there. He is one of the best. You know, the funny thing is that Nick picked this fight, he wanted to fight the best. He didn't want to fight the second or the third you know? So that is how this match-up ended up happening. And to be honest, even I am interested to watch that very much."
Diaz is currently engaged in a battle with the Nevada State Athletic Commission (NSAC) over his UFC 143 post-fight drug test which came back positive for marijuana metabolites, and hasn't seen action since coming up short in capturing the UFC's interim 170-pound strap against Carlos Condit on Feb., 4, 2012 at UFC 143.
After his unanimous decision loss to "The Natural Born Killer," Diaz declared he was done fighting and would walk away from MMA.
Though Renzo states he's never touched pot in his life, he doesn't believe that Nick's marijuana use should be considered a performance enhancing drug (PED). In fact, Renzo says it's the complete opposite and his issues with the NSAC will not interfere with his participation in Nick's grappling match with Estima:
"Not at all, not at all. My man, smoking pot is legal in California, you know, what can I do? I never smoked pot in my life, never, never touch it. To me, you know, I see a lot of people getting drunk you know, and I see a lot of people defending the flag of Bob Marley. Man, every time I see someone smoking pot, I see them lying on the couch and they don't want to move. So, I don't think this is a performance enhancing drug. I think it's a slow down drug. The guys, all they do is they smoke and eat and they sleep."
Diaz can truly lay claim to being one of the best grapplers in MMA, but is he in over his head taking on someone the caliber of Estima? Or will the bad boy from Stockton surprise the Jiu-Jitsu world and defeat "Carcara" at his own game?
To learn more about the first ever World Jiu-Jitsu Expo, click here.