Rickson's Favorite Fighters
Gracie cita lutadores que mais gosta de assistir em ação"
high standards. It is easy to disappoint him. Almost everyone has holes
in their game or what they are doing isn't his idea of real
"jiu-jitsu" or they are too focused on "winning
Is there anyone
Rickson likes? Actually yes. Helio Gracie is without a doubt, the best
and most technical BJJ fighter in history, Rickson believed in 1995, and
possibly still does. Rolls Gracie was technical and fast, and almost
equal to Rickson when he (Rickson) was 17. Royler was excellent
In 1997 he
wasn't impressed by Mark Kerr. Kerr was just a big strong guy with a
good base but so many holes in his game that even Rockson could beat
him. He must have had at least a somewhat positive impression of Equada.
"A very tough guy," Rickson evaluated the 6'7", 340 lb.
jiu-jitsu stylist. Rickson submitted him anyway. It wasn't a tough match
though. Rickson never really had a tough match, he clarified, only matches that lasted
a little longer than others. Big strong guys didn't impress Rickson.
Vitor Belfort didn't impress him. Vitor had "excellent punching
ability" but it would be an understatement to say that Rickson had
doubts about his jiu-jitsu skills.
In 1998 he had
a favorable impression of the pro-wrestler Nobuhiko Takada's (高田延彦) abilities:
"I feel Takada is a warrior and deserves the chance to redeem
himself", Rickson explained. His maintained his opinion that Mark
Kerr was "very strong". Rumina Sato and Mario Sperry had
"excellent technique". He felt that Frank Shamrock was
"nothing special" and that Olympic Gold Medal wrestler Kevin
Jackson was typical of most wrestlers in that "they use mostly
power and throw technique out the window". Conan Silvieira (a
student of Rickson's cousin Carlson Gracie) and John Lewis (a student of
Steven Seagal, Gene LeBell, and Rickson himself) did not impress him. He
conceded that Ron Tripp beat him in a sambo match but justified the loss
by saying that he didn't understand the rules, and instead challenged
Ron to a NHB fight. He was unimpressed with luta livre representative
Hugo Duarte. Hugo was a coward, Rickson said. Rigan Machado earned his
approval: "Rigan was "as good as they get".
In an undated
interview, Rickson expressed appreciation for the games of Vitor Shaolin
and Renato Barreto. He was unimpressed with Don Frye and Mark Coleman.
Both were "very weak". He was even less impressed with Marco
Ruas, whose game on the ground was "basic". Marco would be
even easier to beat than Mark Coleman, Rickson
In 2005, he
liked Marcelinho [Marcelo Garcia], Roger [Gracie, son of Rickson's
cousin Reyla and Mauricio Motta Gomes], and Kyra [Gracie, grand-daughter
of Robson Gracie].
Roger and Kyra of course, being members of the Gracie family
advantage of being the font of good technique, but also much dedication,
suffering, a warrior spirit, that goes with the individual" [Rickson
interview here; Kyra interview here].
But that was
then. This is now. How does does Rickson evaluate the current crop of
BJJ practitioners? Does anyone come up to his expectations? Tatame
asked him in September 20, 2015.
"I like to see Marcus Buchecha fight, and Kron, and some
others. There are various fighters who I admire, but many only use a
strategy to win medals. They only think about medals and not about being
better than the opponent. They are strategists, not gladiators. There
are great jiu-jitsu champions. There aren't "fool champions" (campeão
bobo no tatame) or under-trained champions. But using a strategy to
win titles leaves me with a foot behind (me deixa com o pé
undefeated in his career, continued:
various Brazilians who are super-capable, well-trained, and strong. But
there hasn't appeared yet a Brazilian who I feel is complete in the
"cage". They are great, but each one has a hole in his game
here, or a hole in his game there. There are guys who can punch hard ("vejo
muitos com poder de trocação") but in my heart, I
don't believe that is jiu-jitsu. I'm praying for a complete idol to
make the scene" [Rickson laughed while speaking the last part].
That is what Rickson thinks. But what do Brazilians
(BJJ stylists and fans) think about what Rickson thinks? Do they agree,
disagree, or even care?
The following are the views of
eleven Brazilians who
cared enough to read the interview and leave comments (their initial
comments plus comments on other comments). Comments by Roberto Pedreira
are in brackets [ ].
It's a shame his time is past. I'd love to see him in action
is acknowledging that there are great MMA talents in addition to the [Gracie] family. There are two UFC champions who are BJJ guys, only to
and only real legend of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu is Carlson Gracie. After
Carlson, there's Renzo and many others."
sends his regards." ["Sakuraba mandou lembrança"]
stupid? Sakuraba? get out!!"
from Sakuraba like the devil from a cross. The internet is laughing at him, yeah, yeah.
Coleman, Rutten send their greetings. He ran away from Cassio Cardoso.
Inform yourself, young people! At least check out the sensible
commentary at the link below (written by Robson (Gracie) who knows who
Sakuraba is and knows history." [Three
links were included, the first now extinct, the other two simply
highlights of Sakuraba's fights].
the guy who has unfinished business in Vale Tudo is Rickson. eheheheheheh.
There are many people who he didn't fight, or didn't want to risk
fighting. For those
who don't know, Sakuraba delivered a beat-down on almost all of the
Gracie family. It is said that Rickson had a date set for a fight with
Sakuraba, but for personal reasons, pulled out. I believe the reason was
the death of his oldest son. So he took advantage of this tragedy to back out and thereby maintain for posterity his reputation
as the "samurai of Vale Tudo". A detail: before, during, and
after Rickson, there were a lot of fighters who had many more vale tudo
and MMA fights than Rickson."
thing is, Alex, that Rockson died in 2000, Ok, mourning for a year,
maybe two, but it was only in 2007, 2008 that Rickson said that he was
retiring. During this time he talked on and on about choosing the rules,
even the judge, and asked for 5 MI and when the Japs accepted, Rickson
then asked for 15 MI (I have this information from a relative who is
very close to Rickson). Anyone who does like that doesn't really
want to fight. In addition, he always drones on about how his first
fight was a win over Rei Zulu in 1980 but in reality his first fight was
a loss to Euclides Pereira in 1979, and he knows this very well! It's
ridiculous, I don't respect him, he's a loudmouth windbag." [The
writer, Elton, mentioned a link ostensibly corroborating his point that
Rickson fought and lost to Euclides Pereira in 1979. The link is now
extinct and in any case, Elton is in error; It was Carlson Gracie who
fought and lost to Euclides Pereira, not Rickson, and it was in 1968,
not 1979; see Choque 3 for
the kind of idol Rickson is looking for no longer can exist. No one can
win in MMA using only one style of fight. Jacaré
is the closest thing to this type of idol."
Rickson is waiting for someone with the Gracie name to appear so he can
declare that the ideal gladiator has appeared."
would like to see Rickson vs. Wallid, or Rickson vs. Sakuraba in ADCC or
[Sergio Moraes] despite being a new name in the UFC, has a high level of
jiu-jitsu, including having already beaten Kron."
I never would question the capabilities of the master. What I question
is the difficulty of some talented people, in any case these days, to
admit that anyone else is outstanding. It seems that to praise anyone
else is prohibited and "opens up a parenthesis" in your
practice and virtue. For me, the first expression of humility is to
acknowledge the qualities of your adversary, whether imaginary or
opinions expressed above are those of the people who wrote them. GTR and
Pedreira have no opinion about Rickson's opinions, other than that he is
free to have and express them.
opinions are extracted from interviews in The New Full Contact, Free
Fight, Tatame (at that time known as O Tatame).
More interviews with Rickson Gracie
with Sakuraba (桜庭)
and his Gracie Family victims (Royce, Renzo, Royler, Ryan) here.
(c) 2017, Roberto Pedreira. All rights reserved.