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Global Training Report



Interview with 

Rickson Gracie

From Kakutougi Tsushin No. 301

May 23, 2002

Interviewed by Asaoka Hideki

Translated by Yoko Kondo


Q: First of all, I would like to ask you straightforwardly. Have you decided on a schedule for your comeback to the ring?

Rickson: I will to fight again, but nothing has been decided yet about when or where.

Q: There is a rumor that you said that you would retire after one more fight.  Is it true?

Rickson: No, it's not true. I've never thought about retirement, or limited how many times I will fight again, such as once more, or twice more, for example. 

Q: Some mass media reported that you would fight within this year.

Rickson: It's not true either. I can't control what people say, and I don't take it seriously whatever people say about me. I hope my fans will resist being carried away by rumors too.

Q: Then no details, such as when, where, or whom, have been decided yet, have they?

Rickson: That's right. 

Q: You said that you've never thought about retirement, but don't you have any prospect of it?

Rickson:  When I find it difficult to keep up with the ordinary training, then will be the time to retire, but it has nothing to do with age. I think the day to retire will come someday. But now I don't feel weaker than before at all, so I don't think about retirement. Of course, my strength has declined to some extent for sure, but experience and mental aspects compensate for the decline in strength, so nothing has changed in terms of a total balance compared with before. 

Q: Suppose there are three Ricksons, 30-year-old Rickson, Rickson at present, and 50-year-old Rickson. Which Rickson do you think is strongest?

Rickson: It is myself at present. When I was young, I had strength. But, on the other hand, I wasted energy. Now I don't waste energy and and have more experience and spirit covering my strength. If I choose the strongest one among three, it is myself at present. And if I have only one opponent, I will choose myself at present. However, if I have to defeat four or five opponents in one day, maybe 30-year-old Rickson will be the best for that. 

Q: Then, can I expect to be able to watch you fight ten years from now? 

Rickson: It's possible!

Q: How have you been for the last two years since your fight with Funaki?

Rickson: Since I had to support my family after my son's death, I couldn't train with total concentration. Even now, it is a little far from 100%. But now that time has gone on a little bit, if my fight is arranged, I am ready to get into the training within a few months with complete concentration as I did before. 

Q: Is there anyone you want to fight with?

Rickson: I've been watching various fighters on TV, but there is nobody who draws my interest. I have confidence to win with my own strategy according to who my opponent will be, but I don't see any fighter whom I really want to fight with. I am a human, of course, so I might lose if my strategy is wrong. But if I fight without any mistake, I have confidence to defeat any of the fighters who are on top now.  

Q: As your opponents, the names of Ogawa and Choshu Riki, a pro wrestler, have been  mentioned so far. 

Rickson: Certainly there were offers, but nothing has been put into definite shape. 

Q: It was said before that you would fight with anyone who the promoter matched against you if the contract was made between the you and the promoter. 

Rickson: But, even if the money is attractive, I don't feel like fighting with somebody who isn't a match for me. I have no intention to go in a fight only for the purpose of mobilizing spectators and making a lot of money for the promoter.

Q: Well, then have you been watching the fights of K-1 fighters who recently started to enter vale tudo?

Rickson: Yes, I have. 

Q: How do you think about Mirko Crocop who is said to be strong now? Is he a match for you as your opponent?

Rickson: Mmmmm....... No doubt that he is a great striker.  But if I can take him into grappling, I don't think he will be a match for my technique. However, I think he is an amazing fighter on the whole. And if he lands a solid punch, he could win. 

Q: So he might be an opponent who is match for you? If other K-1 fighters enter vale tudo, do you think they will do well?

Rickson: In vale tudo, 30% in the fight is standing work. That is, grapplers have a possibility to lose in that part of 30%, but the rest 70% is ground work. It sometimes happens to strikers that it takes a whole life to learn ground work. Considering this point, they are far from mastering perfectly how to fight in vale tudo, although K-1 fighters continue to improve their technique.

Q: Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Vanderlei Silva, also Brazilians like you, have been doing very well lately in Pride. They sometimes say that they are stronger than Rickson. 

Rickson: I know they have been doing well in Pride, and it is good for a fighter to be confident. But I have my own ideas too. Although Nogueira is big, his technique isn't complete. I am confident I would beat them too, so the fact that they say they would beat me doesn't mean much. 

Q: And it is said that Yoshida Hidehiko, a Japanese judo-ka and a gold medallist in the Olympic, will enter vale tudo, possibly Pride. Do you think he can succeed in vale tudo?

Rickson: I've heard that he is a great judo-ka. I don't know what kind of training he has done so far, but vale tudo is completely different from judo. Asked how much he can cope with vale tudo with only judo technique, it would be about 20%. For example, if he fights in Pride, his opponent won't wear do-gi so that he won't be able to hold him, and he will have a different feeling from usual when he grapples the opponent. Even if he throws the opponent on the ground, it is not the end. He has to submit him after that. It can be said that it is completely a different situation from the mental point of view too. So if he has been doing such kinds of training so far, he could succeed to some extent. No matter how great his judo is, I feel uneasy to say that he will do well in vale tudo with only judo technique. 

Q: No gold medallists of judo in the Olympic have entered vale tudo so far. Do you want to fight with a gold medallist of judo in vale tudo?

Rickson: The fact that he has an Olympic gold medal doesn't impress me as far as his being a vale tudo competitor. Even if I defeated him, I don't think I could have a great satisfaction, because the gold medallist has to fight with me in a different game from the one he got his gold medal for. But having got a gold medal of that particular sport is a result of his great efforts. I respect him for that. 

Q: This is the last question. We are in a position to make kakutogi magazines, but when the terrorism occurred on September 11th last year, there were many kakutougi fans  who must have felt "what's the point of training to fight man to man without weapons?" Didn't you feel it meaningless to do kakutogi when that terrorism occurred?

Rickson: A lot of people lost their lives in one moment. It was as if all my victories  evaporated in one moment. But what I think we have to reflect on more deeply is how to get confidence and courage to overcome such a terrible tragedy. That is what I felt anew by going through that incident. 



Other Rickson interviews on GTR:

Rickson  (after Funaki)

Rickson (Athra Pt. 1)

Rickson  (Athra Pt. 2)

Rickson  (from Herois do Ringue)

Rickson (from Gracie DNA)

Rickson (from Tatame)

 (c) 2002, Yoko Kondo. All rights reserved.



Order the Rickson Choke documentary below. It's pretty good.