Filipinos can be ‘king’ in UFC – Gracie


WHEN there’s no rules, no gloves, no time and even no weight limit, Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Hall of Famer Royce Gracie was once the king of the octagon ring. Gracie, 43, a known Brazillian jiu-jitsu expert, told The Manila Times in an exclusive interview Friday that Filipino fighters have the edge to compete and become successful in the UFC because they are improving fast since the last time he went here in the Philippines 12 years ago.

“Nothing impossible if they [Filipinos] keep working hard to achieve their dreams,” said Gracie after conducting a Brazilian jiu-jitsu clinic at the BAMF Mixed Martial Arts Center in Sucat, Paranaque City. “I’m also glad to see that Filipinos are fast learner because they’re improving.”

Gracie, who thanked Universal Reality Combat Championship President Alvin Aguilar for the hospitality, has promoted six Brazilian jiu-jitsu students. He will conduct different clinics all over the country particularly in the Visayas and Mindanao regions.

“The body structure of Filipinos are amazing and I’m sure they are capable of making into mixed martial arts stardom,” said Gracie, who has a record of 14-3-3 win-loss-draw with 12 submissions and two by decisions. “Filipinos are also brave and determined.”

Royce—the seventh degree red-and-black belter and son of Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Helio Gracie—has beaten opponents larger, heavier and even stronger than him through submissions techniques that turned him three-time UFC champion (UFC 1, UFC 2 and UFC 4) in 1993 and 1994.

“I like challenges, that’s why I become a mixed martial artist,” he said. “UFC has been revolutionized as a sport now unlike before when there was no rules, no gloves and blood was all over the places. I’m so very lucky to be one of the originals of UFC.”

Gracie, who popularized Brazilian jiu-jitsu and revolutionized the mixed martial arts with his impressive techniques—contributing to the movement towards grappling and cross-training—defeated the likes of Ken Shamrock, Patrick Smith and judo champion Remco Pardoel, among others.

Gracie, who was born in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, has a Brazilian jiu-jitsu school in Long Beach California.