Was Royce Gracie Too Critical Of Roger Gracie?


Decorated Brazilian Jiu-jitsu world champion Roger Gracie made an unsuccessful debut in the UFC when he lost a rather uninspired decision to fellow former Strikeforce vet Tim Kennedy at July’s UFC 162. Gracie, who is widely regarded as one of the finest pure competition grapplers to ever hit the mat, appeared drawn and out of breath after cutting weight down to 185.

The loss prompted his immediate release from the UFC after just one fight, and now Gracie is in search of MMA employment elsewhere. But the loss also prompted a different kind of negative backlash in the form of criticism from Gracie family member and legendary MMA pioneer Royce Gracie, who revealed his disappointment at how his family has performed as of late in the cage.

While most MMA pundits believe that you have to be well rounded to find success in the Octagon, Royce Gracie still believes that using pure jiu-jitsu is a winning strategy. Roger Gracie found that he needed to add another dimension or two to his game in Strikeforce, but he stressed to Royce that he was looking to utilize his ground skills against Kennedy before tiring:

“If you see my last fight. I only threw two punches in the whole fight. If there’s something that I did do in that fight was jiu-jitsu, but I got tired and couldn’t do what I was planning to do,” he said. “But that’s his opinion, right?” – via MMA Fighting

Indeed it is the elder Gracie statesman’s opinion if he wants his family members who currently fight to stick to the strategy that works for him. There’s no doubt that Roger is one of the best submission specialists on the face of the earth, but in today’s ever-evolving MMA landscape, it’s hard to believe that being so focused on just one aspect of the game will yield positive results.

Roger only landed twelve significant strikes in his loss to Kennedy, and if he wants to be competitive against the best MMA fighters in the world, that’s simply not going to work. True, Kennedy is a grinding fighter with a penchant for neutralizing his opponent’s strengths, but with a gameplan so heavily centered on the ground game, he probably knew what to expect at UFC 162.

Perhaps Roger should also make his way back to Light Heavyweight. He’s a tall fighter at 6’4”, and leaving that extra 20 lbs. on his frame could give the time to focus on improving his overall skillset rather than worrying about the weight cut.

It’s unfortunate that roger was cut from the UFC after only one chance to prove himself, but the fact is he didn’t show up on the grand stage. Do you give credit to Royce’s beliefs about winning, or is he simply stuck in an era that is long past?

  • For pure BJJ Roger is 20 times better than Royce. Matt Hughes fighting Royce shows the world where he is at with MMA now. Even in his prime, with the skill level of guys now I don't know if he would even crack the roster. If anyone left a smear on the Gracie name, it would be Royce getting caught using steroids.

    • Royce has a lot of balls… He has never won a World Championship in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He is a paper boy… All hype. His BJJ does not even come close to Roger's. If you put Royce vs a World Class Jiu-Jitsu foe, he will lose. Wallid Ismael made a good example of it in 1998 when he choked Royce out unconscious…. Royce dominated when nobody new what Jiu-Jitsu was in the States.

  • Good point Murph

  • Royce is a legend and has a great legacy but Royce was as successful as he was because much of the early "MMA" world didn't know of BJJ. That left other fighters at a disadvantage for a number of years. Royce's feeble fake kick-shoot-takedown is completely ineffective today. Things would be different if Roger were completing at UFC 1-10. Guys like Roger are facing students of the game who came up training equally in everything. Royce never faced that kind of thing.

    • With a reply like this, I dont even feel the need to post….spot on!
      …..wait, I just posted

  • The good Dr, no doubt, has access to a hyperbaric chamber hence the clear thinking. 🙂

  • MMA evolved so fast that BJJ success in the world stage is no longer a guarantee success in MMA. I think Roger just need some more stand up training his has the opportunity to just throw a lot while standing up since his opponent would really think twice in taking him down. Just my 2 cent.

  • I think Shane Carwin showed Frank Mir the effectiveness of Jujitsu. He blasted Mir with uppercuts against the cage. You definetly need the full package because there are no guarantees a submission guy can have the strength to get it to the ground.

  • You guys are forgetting something….at that time (Royces time) there was no time limit so that late round take down or that controlling the center of the octagon using jabs or that top control with no effectiveness would not win fights….time would pass and eventually an opening would appear and BJJ would prevail a lot more….

    • Thats a good point as well. Though, any guy back then that could avoid a takedown and strike well could win. But back then, no-one focused seriously on avoiding a takedown, because they didnt always know what was coming.

      • You're telling me by UFC 4 they didn't know Royce was going for a takedown?

  • all ye haters of Royce forgot to mention that Royce beat guys who out weighed him… some even a 100 pounds… funny how you guys forgot to mention that????? gracie was a great fighter for his time simple as that… and just because BJJ wasn't well know around the world that's not his fault.. its the publics fault because ye same idiots back then thought boxing was the best way of fighting… and no time limit either on fights… headbutts, etc… so give him his props

  • You guys really need to give Royce more credit. He would fight when there were almost no rules. He would fight ANYBODY and he would take 4 fights in one night! He was literally the smallest competitor and would win the entire no rules no time limit fight! He fought hard and he fought bravely, and he fought with a willingness to die in the cage. Give the man at least a bit of respect.