After fighting for the first time in four years at IFC: Genesis, LowKick.com-favorite Daniel Gracie participated in the current edition of Bellator Light Heavyweight Tournament. In a fight that took place at Harrah’s Tunica Hotel and Casino in Tunica, Mississippi, Gracie lost a Unanimous Decision to Tim Carpenter in his debut at Bellator 38. After the fight, Daniel Gracie announced he’s going to drop down in weight and will compete in the Bellator Middleweight division.
The legendary Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu master took time off his busy schedule to discuss host of topics in an exclusive interview for LowKick.com Community. Here’s what Daniel Gracie had to say about his future with Bellator, Royce Gracie’s possible fight at UFC: Rio, Legalization of MMA in New York and much more:
Earlier in my career, I was too big for 185, but now everyone knows how to make weight, how to cut weight. So now, I’m a small guy for Light Heavyweight, because most fighters are cutting down from something like 230, 240. I’m walking around 220, so going down to 185 will be a big cut for me. But I know that I’m not going to struggle to make this weight, in fact, I’m not even going to diet.
I know that my Jiu-Jitsu is going to be better; I’m going to be faster. It’s going to do only good to my career.
Nate Marquardt for example, is looking huge. He’s fighting at 185, and now he’s even cutting down to 170 for the fight against Anthony Johnson.
Look, he came to train with us in New York. I looked at him, and I’m like “man, this guy is bigger than me, how he can fight at 185?”. He fought Ricardo Almeida in Japan at 170, but it’s still a pretty big cut for him.
What about your last fight? Personally, I think you did pretty well out there. What in your opinion you could do different?
I wasn’t sparring that much. I need more boxing sparring. What happened was that my fight in Israel went too fast, and I couldn’t push myself up to my limits. Also, Tim Carpenter is a legit BJJ black belt, and he got me rocked in the first round. That punch took a lot out of me, and I found it hard to recover. But I think I won that fight. It’s like, man, everyone who spoke to me said I won that fight.
At the end of the day, every time I go to decision, I feel like I deserve to lose. My goal is always to finish, so I’m not going to argue about this one. It was my fault.
You mentioned Tim Carpenter is a “legit BJJ black belt”. Were you surprised by his ground skills, because after all, the majority of action was on the ground?
Yeah, what happened is that I wasn’t surprised because I knew he’s a black belt. I knew my Jiu-Jitsu is better than his. Because of the punch, it took me too long to “wake up” in the fight. And another aspect on this fight is that I didn’t train Jiu-Jitsu, I trained Boxing. I trained boxing, but I wasn’t sparring. I had MMA sparring and physical training to get myself in shape. The good thing is that everything I could do wrong, I did in this fight. Nothing is going to stop me now. I’m feeling great, Tim Carpenter is a tough fighter and it was a good war to test myself in.
When is your next fight, do you have an opponent?
I don’t have an opponent yet. I’ll be talking to Bellator soon, but I already told them I want to fight as soon as possible. I’m looking for something like July, but we’ll see.
Is there someone you would like to fight? Because there’s some pretty interesting match-ups for you in the Bellator Middleweight division.
I don’t have anybody in my mind now, because I just decided to go down to 185. And to tell you the truth, Anton, I’m not that kind of fighter who checks out who’s in my division. Every fight for me is a war, and it’s like a Championship fight for me. I don’t want to call out anyone. I’ll fight anyone who Bellator put in front of me.
Okay, let’s talk about Royce Gracie. There’s a rumor about him fighting at UFC: Rio. What do you think about this whole thing?
I think they should put him to fight. But I also think that Renzo would be the best name out of the family to fight there. Royce never fought in Brazil. Even that Royce is the biggest Gracie name in the UFC, Renzo is the one everyone loves in Brazil. And since the event is going to be in Brazil, I think it’s important. Actually, I think they should put both of them to fight and that one of their opponents should be Sakuraba.
Wow, the fight against Sakuraba would be great.
I’ll prefer Renzo and Sakuraba, because everyone knows Renzo beat him up. He dislocated his arm in process, so they should have a rematch.
Is there any rivalry between Royce and Renzo Gracie inside the family?
We don’t see each other too much, because they’re on the West and we are on the East. I don’t think there are any problems inside the family. Everything is okay.
Okay, Daniel. That’s all I wanted to ask. Is there something you would like to add?
First, I want to say something about the situation of MMA in New York. I don’t know why it’s taking so long to legalize it. This coast has a very strong MMA community, and it would be great for everyone to have MMA events here in New York. So I just want to complain a little bit.
Another thing, is that I wish everyone would stick to their teams, instead of jumping from side to side. I wish everyone would have a strong team like the Renzo Gracie and Cesar Gracie teams. Friendship can beat everything. If the team is not doing well, you should help the team instead of leaving to some other place.
Great! Is there someone you would like to mention?
Oh yeah. I would like to thank all my trainers. I’m doing my physical preparations at All American Athletes, that’s in Stamford, Connecticut. Dr. “Evil” Carlon Coker of Peak Wellness, he takes care of my injuries and makes my body stronger. And of course I would like to thank my wife, she’s the reason I’m fighting again and she’s always supporting me in any situation. That’s it.