It’s been a tough go recently for former BJJ world champions in the UFC. First Vinny Magalhaes was knocked out in a mere 14 seconds at UFC 163, and today, news comes from Combate that Roger Gracie’s UFC contract will not be renewed. The former ADCC champ made his octagon debut at last month’s UFC 162, where he lost a lackluster bout against Tim Kennedy.
The fight was the last on a four-fight contract that Gracie had transferred over from Strikeforce. He started off strong against fellow Strikeforce import Kennedy, but appeared to gas as the bout wore on. Gracie himself noted that he would rather fight at light heavyweight rather than put on another performance like that at middleweight.
Unfortunately, it appears that his next fight will have to be in another promotion. Gracie is notably marked as one of the finest pure submission grapplers to ever hit the mats, having won multiple gold medals at the BJJ World Championships. But his submission prowess hasn’t translated into immediate success in MMA.
He sits with a decent 6-2 record, but it’s tough to make good on a poor first impression when your boss is Dana White. Perhaps a move back to light heavyweight is in the cards for Gracie, whose name recognition alone will probably warrant a spot on the Bellator or WSOF roster.
As the Gracie family’s best hope for a continuing presence in current MMA, I hope that Roger Gracie quickly finds a cage to get his MMA career back on track. It’s become increasingly obvious that a fighter has to be ultimately well rounded in order to find success in the UFC, and Gracie will have to do the same if he wants to fight on.