EXCLUSIVE | Cesar Gracie On Why Anderson Is Going To Start Losing More, Rousey vs. Tate II, and Gilbert Melendez vs. Diego Sanchez | BJPenn.com Radio
| Famed BJJ coach and longtime fan favorite of BJPenn.com, Cesar Gracie, joined our own Pedro Carrasco and George Mathews on Wednesday night’s episode (July 17th) of BJPenn.com Radio. Cesar is a staple in the training circles of the MMA community, he’s the head of the Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy in California, and he has coached and mentored many top-level fighters such as Nick & Nate Diaz, Gilbert Melendez, and Jake Shields. Gracie was kind enough to spend a good amount of time with our boys on the radio show and discuss many topics revolving around his gym as well as some other recent MMA news. Here are some of the highlights from Cesar Gracie’s interview on BJPenn.com Radio:
Cesar was first asked to comment and give his thoughts on the most recent and shocking news in the MMA world, the aftermath of UFC 162 when Anderson Silva lost his crown to Chris Weidman. Gracie explained, “I really think it’s like a passing of the torch. I really do. Weidman is a really tough guy. He’s got all kinds of skills. Good jiu-jitsu guy, credible wrestler, and hits really hard.”
Silva has been the reigning champion for so long that it seems hard to believe that the torch is finally being passed, but with Anderson’s flashy style and risky tactics he was bound to get caught sooner or later, especially when he’s facing a monster like Weidman. Cesar continued to elaborate:
“[Silva] doesn’t have the chin he use to. He thinks he can get away with the games he played, but you get an aggressive guy on him that’s going to hit him hard, he’s gonna go down, and that’s what happened.”
Gracie doesn’t think that Silva is completely washed up and incapable of winning more fights in the future and even believed Silva could possibly win in the rematch on December 28th at UFC 168, but he did state that he feels Silva is hitting a decline in his illustrious career.
“It is possible for him to win this rematch,” Gracie said, “but all-in-all we’re gonna see him start to losing fights I think, and start to be a lot more human than he has been in the past.”
Many fans would probably agree with Gracie’s statements and many fans might disagree with what he had to say, but we’ll find out a lot more when Silva faces Weidman in their rematch at the end of the year in what Dana White is already calling the biggest fight in promotional history.
The conversation then shifted over to one of Gracie’s fighters, Leslie Smith, who won her fight last weekend at Invicta 6 against Jennifer Maia by unanimous decision. Gracie talked about how the recent surge of female talent in MMA has swayed his initial opinion of WMMA.
“I just was never a fan of women’s fighting, to be honest with you. But its women like Leslie Smith that makes a fan out of you,” Gracie explained.“I really think she’s one of the most exciting women fighters in the world right now, if not the most exciting. She reminds me of kind of like a Cyborg or something like that. Someone that just goes all out,” he continued. “I was very happy to see her win.”
Mr. Gracie was then asked to comment on UFC Women’s Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey, who has spent some time training at Cesar Gracie Jiu-Jitsu Academy.
“Ronda was, honestly, one of the first females that I have seen in my life that can tap-out guys. And I’m talking about good guys. She’s that explosive, she’s that good. And her commitment, being an Olympic-level athlete and everything, the way she just does stuff. She taps out really good guys,” he explained.“She definitely showed me that women can not only be exciting in fights with other women, but also that they can compete with the guys even.”
“Women like that kind of said, ‘ok, these girls belong here.’”
Ronda Rousey is a special athlete and an exciting competitor. She has undoubtedly changed the MMA scene drastically and has paved the way for future female athletes to follow in her footsteps. Good luck with that, though.
Following his praise of Rousey, Gracie was then asked to comment on her upcoming rematch with Meisha Tate following their coaching stints on The Ultimate Fighter. Rousey caught Tate in her signature arm-bar in their first meeting and seemingly broke Tate’s arm in half in the process of getting the submission win. Gracie was asked if the same outcome was going to come out of the rematch at the end of this year. He replied, “I think for Meisha to stop something like that she would have to just train with some seriously world class men who are arm-bar specialists and for her to not get caught up in that. The thing with Ronda, believe it or not, her standup has gotten a lot better also. She’s sparring a lot. She’s put that dedication, the same dedication that she had for the grappling part, and she’s putting that into her standup game. And so she’s actually doing pretty well. I’ve seen her sparring with people and she’s come a long way. So she’s going to have more than that threat coming into this fight.”
“What I don’t want to see is Meisha have her arm torn off again. I just don’t want to see that. I want to see a ref that doesn’t allow that to happen because people don’t understand; you can lose your arm with an injury like that,” “Could you imagine what that would do to a sport?”
He makes a good point. Tate refused to tap-out in the first fight and her arm was twisted in a grotesque manner before the referee stepped in to stop the fight. It will be interesting to see if Tate can somehow stop the move that no one, including herself, has been able to defend at this point. Ronda, as good as she is, still has a few holes in her game, though.
“There’s definitely things that Ronda has done incorrectly in the past and that’s giving her back up a couple times,” Gracie stated, “but I’m sure she’s going to address that and get a little better.”
Gracie concluded by saying, “I’m kind of seeing that fight as going Ronda’s way again.”
Pedro and George then asked Cesar to talk about on of his lightweight fighters and top-contenders, Gilbert Melendez. Melendez is coming off of a razor-thin decision loss to Champion Benson Henderson. Gracie was asked if he thought that Gilbert won that fight.
“I definitely thought he won that fight. A lot of people thought that he won that fights,” he explained, “I think he is the real champ in the UFC.”
Nick Diaz also lost two consecutive, very close decisions to Carlos Condit for the interim UFC strap and to GSP for the outright welterweight title. As close as Gracie was to having two UFC champions in his stables he knows that some things he just cannot control.
“We could have had two champs in the UFC right there,” he said. “I can’t do nothing about judges.”
Gracie was then asked to talk about Melendez’s upcoming fight against the tough UFC veteran, Diego Sanchez, in October at UFC 166. Gracie replied, “It’s an interesting fight. You got a top-contender in Gilbert Melendez and you got a guy that’s maybe not top-contender material right now in Diego Sanchez but people will like this fight because of the intensity it’s going to bring. I think Diego is going to be running around yelling ‘YES’ or whatever he does and, you know, it’s going to be an intense fight.”
“I think Gilbert will probably knock him out, is what I’m thinking. I see Gilbert winning by knock-out on that fight or a lop-sided decision. I know anything can happen in a fight but I think it’s a fan friendly fight.”