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Neiman Gracie discusses upcoming Ed Ruth fight and whether or not Rory MacDonald is making excuses

Neiman Gracie interview

Bellator 213 “MacFarlane vs. Letourneau” takes place Saturday, December 15, 2018 at Neal S. Blaisdell Arena in Honolulu, Hawaii. The undefeated champion Ilima-Lei MacFarlane (8-0) will make her second Flyweight title defense against former UFC contender Valerie Letourneau (10-6) in the main event.

Before that scheduled bout an intriguing Welterweight bout will see the equally unblemished fighters as Neiman Gracie (8-0) takes on Ed Ruth (6-0) in a bracket of the Welterweight Grand Prix tournament.

Ruth brings a Nittany Lion pedigree into this fight as a three time NCAA Division I champion with uncanny takedown ability, but what has really impressed fans since his Bellator debut is his finishing power. To date Ruth has finished five of six fights (83%) by knockout.

That won’t faze Neiman Gracie. He’s faced a series of tougher and more experienced opponents time and again, most recently including Zak Bucia and Javier Torres, but the result is always the same — if he gets you to the ground you’re toast. Only ONE of his eight fights has not ended via submission.

Today Neiman Gracie talks to MMA Mania about his chance to advance in the stacked Welterweight tournament against a formidable opponent like Ed Ruth.

“(I’m) super excited, especially with this fight, it’s gonna be a great fight — and especially because it’s going to be in Hawaii and I love that place — it’s gonna be awesome.”

Even though Hawaii is an awesome destination to travel to, Gracie can’t afford to let the tropical breeze and palm trees distract him from Ed Ruth.

“Oh hell yeah. It’s going to be business until the 15th, but after that it’s going to be a good trip. It’s going to be a great fight you know? Ed is a great opponent, a very tough opponent, and it’s going to be a great fight man. (We’re) both undefeated guys, and may the best man win.”

So how does a multiple time medalist in worldwide jiu-jitsu competition prepare for an collegiate style wrestler who has spent more time striking than going for takedowns?

“Both (wrestling and striking) at once. I’m prepared for everything he has for me you know? I trained really hard and I prepared for war.”

With a tournament that includes the likes of Paul Daley, Douglas Lima and world champion Rory MacDonald few fighters could truly prepare until the brackets were made — unless of course their name was Neiman Gracie.

“I knew it would be a tough fight because there are only tough fights in this tournament. So I didn’t really know who was going to be the first fight, and to tell the truth I don’t really care because I know that all the fights are going to be tough you know?”

At least Gracie already knows who he’ll be facing in the second round if he advances on Saturday night — the winner of the Rory MacDonald vs. Jon Fitch fight.

“No easy outs man and I knew that already so I’m mentally prepared for everything... and physically too, so it’s going to be great.”

MacDonald didn’t have such a great night against Gegard Mousasi though. I asked Gracie if it was a mistake on MacDonald’s part to take that fight when he was in this tournament too.

“I saw the fight and I hope that he’s fine. I hope that he’s able to get into the tournament, because he has the belt so we all want that belt you know? I hope that he’s fine and I hope that he’s ready for his fight too. Of course fighting a bigger guy and a very technical guy like Mousasi is always going to be tough, but I don’t think that his weight category is such of a big deal you know?”

Had MacDonald gracefully admitted he was outclassed, the weight class might not be an issue, but MacDonald started making excuses instead of accepting a humbling loss.

“I saw him saying that he didn’t feel that he was ‘in there’ you know? And when you’re fighting a guy like Gegard Mousasi, if you don’t feel that you’re in the mood to do it, it’s not going to be a good night you know? It doesn’t matter who’s fighting and what weight they have.”

To make matters worse “The Red King” ignored his detractors and doubled down on his defense, claiming he “didn’t have any desire to fight hard” in a world title fight.

“I don’t think it’s an excuse, you know? But I don’t know man. Only he knows what he felt in there so we can never judge a fighter you know?”

In any case Neiman Gracie has fought at Middleweight before, so he wouldn’t necessarily rule out going up in weight and doing the same thing MacDonald did.

“Yes, for sure! That sure would be great. Weight cuts suck so I’d do it for sure. Yeah so my first fight was at Middleweight, my second fight was a catch weight, yeah. I train with a lot of those big guys so, that wouldn’t be a problem for me.”

As an undefeated fighter in the tournament Gracie not only has to knock off Ed Ruth but prove he’s hasn’t already peaked at the level of fighting he’s achieved so far.

“To tell the truth I think the most improvement that I’ve had in jiu-jitsu was after I got my black belt, so I think you can always improve. You know you can always find pieces of your game to improve on, especially in jiu-jitsu because I think that jiu-jitsu is endless, you know? If you train the way you should, like a smart way to train, you can always improve — for sure.”

Tune in to Bellator 213 on December 15th to see just how much Neiman Gracie has improved and whether he can stay perfect against Ed Ruth.

Complete audio of our interview is embedded above, and complete coverage of “MacFarlane vs. Letourneau” resides here at MMA Mania all week long.

To check out the latest Bellator MMA-related news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive news archive right here.

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