| 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:
The conversations started off with a little backtracking done by co-host, Pedro Carrasco. He wanted to get Cesar’s take on Nate Diaz’s loss to Josh Thompson in April. In that fight Diaz got steamrolled until he was KOed by a head-kick from Thompson and many MMA pundits and fans were shocked, partly due to Thompson’s amazing performance but also because of Nate’s less-than average showing. Cesar was asked to comment on the emotion stemming from that fight and if he could pinpoint what went wrong in that bout.
“Without a doubt there was disappointment and with Nate I think he is very skilled,” he explained, “but sometimes he brings that anger and that street mentality into a fight as opposed to settling down a little bit and understanding that it’s not that kind of fight and when you have that kind of mentality I think you can make mistakes.”
“He needs to settle down a little bit more and he’s a much better fighter than that. I think there’s a lot of things going on. He sometimes thinks of where he’s at as a sports figure, how much he’s done for the sport, what his compensation is and everything. I think there’s a lot of things that get into his mind that upset him and everything, and I think it affects him.”
“Nate needs to take some time off,” Gracie continued. “He needs to settle down a little bit and he’ll come back a lot better.”
Nate was recently on the cusp of holding UFC gold but he lost the title fight to Benson Henderson and then was dismantled by Thompson immediately following his title fight appearance. The two fight skid now leaves Diaz in question as to what’s next in his career. He’s fought at 170 pounds before but looks much smaller than many of the fighters in the UFC’s welterweight stables. On the other hand, the weigh-cut to make 155 pounds is not an easy one for him either. So Diaz has some decisions to make in the near future. Gracie touched on some of the factors that are going to play in to what decision Nate makes and where he decides to fight.
“If he’s going to fight at 170 he’s going to have to pack some muscle, primarily in his legs,” Cesar explained. “He can fight at 155 but it’d only be twice a year.”
“Asking guys to fight every 3 and a half to 4 months at that weight, the cut is just too hard on his body.”
He said that it’s doable and Nate could stay at lightweight but he’d only be able to fight every six months or so because of the tole the weight management would take on his mentality and his physique. Nothing has been decided yet but Cesar admitted, “We’d have to talk to a nutritionist. That’s probably the best bet.”
Nate Diaz recently spoke with BJPenn.com and talked about the UFC needed to add more weight classes, much like boxing has. He brought up many good points about the weight cut that some guys have to make as opposed to others that are better suited for each weight. Gracie was asked about the situation and claimed that he and Diaz had talked about the predicament before.
“Unfortunately there are a lot of guys out there, not just Nate, there’s a lot of guys out there that are in between weight classes,” Gracie explained. When asked if he agreed with Diaz and thinks there is a need for more weight classes Gracie replied, “For me, I’m all for it because we’re going to see people fight at their best.”
Pedro Carrasco asked if it was a fair assessment to say that Nate is jsut as big as his older brother, Nick, who fights at 170 pounds.
“Yeah, he is just as big as his brother, with the exception of his legs,” Cesar said, “his legs are not quite as thick as Nick’s.”
It’s not like Nate has ever fought at welterweight in the UFC before. He’s won fights at 170 in the organization in the past and as he gets older it may be the best fit for him in the future. Like Cesar explained, if he focuses on adding muscle to his frame he could fit into the weight class very nicely and could be matched-up with some pretty interesting opponents. We’ll see what Nate decides as time ticks on.
The conversation then shifted to Nate’s older brother, Nick.
Nick Diaz is on a two fight losing streak as well, with both of the losses coming in title fights. He first lost a razor-thin decision to interim champion Carlos Condit and then dropped another decision loss to Champion Georges St. Pierre. Following the loss to GSP, Diaz stated that he might not fight again and he was rumored as considering retirement. Since then Diaz has started up his own MMA promotion out of Stockton, California called WAR MMA. The promotion held its debut show a few weeks back and everything went well and the show was a success.
Gracie was first asked to comment on the show. He said that he thought it was a success, for the most part, and it was a good show with exciting fights. He explained that it was, “Well done for the time it was put together but it was put together kind of quick.”
He continued, “I don’t have the figures or anything like that but I can’t see it being a money maker. But I enjoyed it, being there and watching the fights and everything.”
Cesar has always been a big part of the Diaz Brothers’ MMA careers and it’s always good to be able to get breaking news from a source so close to the fighter. Cesar told BJPenn.com that he had been talking to Nick a little bit following Diaz’s recent return from Las Vegas a few days ago and he had big news concerning Nick’s future as a fighter.
“There is an offer on the table, that’s all I can say about it,” Gracie said. “Dana has offered him a fight. There is an offer on the table. I can’t tell you who it is. It’s kind of neat I think. But no decisions have been made for sure.”
A return for Nick Diaz would be huge news for the MMA world considering he’s only 29 and is one of the biggest names and most talented fighters in the world. Although he was recently contemplating retirement he has made it very clear that he would love another crack at GSP, as he is convinced that he can absolutely dethrone him. A return against any big name would be very pleasing for most fans to hear. Diaz, although he is portrayed as the bad boy of MMA, is always a huge draw.
“I think the fans really appreciate his fighting style, how he brings that technique and ferocity,” Gracie explained. “I definitely always encourage him but he’s his own man and he has to do things at the right time for him.”
“You got to understand that this guy has been fighting for 12, 13 years or whatever.”
That’s is definitely a factor that needs to be taken into consideration by the fans. The rigorous training that it takes to be a fighter, aside from the fight itself, is very taxing on the human body and Diaz has been doing it for a long time. But despite the grind he’s been on for years it seems that he may still have the drive in his blood to step back into the cage. We’ll keep our eyes on this “fight that’s on the table” for Nick Diaz. Stay posted to BJPenn.com for all the latest news regarding that contract offer.
Gracie was then asked what he thought about the upcoming welterweight title fight between GSP and Johny Hendricks at UFC 167 in November.
“I think this is the first time GSP might have a guy that can take him down,” Gracie stated. “I could see GSP getting knocked-out in the first round. I don’t think that is going to happen but I wouldn’t be surprised if it did happen.”
Hendricks definitely brings a lot of weapons and threats to the table against St. Pierre, but Cesar stated that the experience and conditioning of GSP was going to be the biggest key in the fight. The game-planning king of the UFC will likely have to play the cautious roll against Hendricks and aim for another decision win.
“I think he’s going to try to fight a smart fight against Hendricks,” Gracie explained. “I see GSP probably winning it either by stoppage in the late rounds or decision.”
In talking about the title picture Nick Diaz’s name couldn’t be kept out of the conversation. When asked if he thought Diaz was still a threat to the UFC welterweight title Gracie replied, “I would love to see Nick back in there. I don’t think we saw the best Nick versus GSP. There’s a lot of things there.”
“I’d love to see him back in the title picture, for sure.”
So would we…so would we.
And with a possible fight “on the table” for Nick Diaz we might get that wish very soon.
To listen to the entire interview with Cesar Gracie on BJPenn.com Radio click here and for more exclusive MMA interviews stay posted to BJPenn.com
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