UFC heavyweight Gabriel Gonzaga is a decorated Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, coming off of two consecutive submission victories since his return to the Octagon at UFC 142 with his most recent one being a victory over Ben Rothwell.
As for his competition on the ground, he believes that his division lacks enough skill in that department. He wisely stated that the likes of Frank Mir, Fabricio Werdum and Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira were exceptions from this rule but pointed out glaring holes in the games of fighters who recently fought in Brendan Schaub and Mark Hunt, two men not known for their ground games. In fact, Gonzaga fought Brendan Schaub at UFC 121 in a fight dictated, on the feet, by Schaub who won a decision victory that night, leading to Gonzaga’s release.
Gonzaga recently spoke with Pro MMA Now Radio and proclaimed that he was less than impressed with the laking jiu-jitsu skills in the UFC’s heavyweight division:
“Actually I thought it was going to be better. Because when the years go by the people start to develop more skills. But I think the heavyweight division, the people don’t have ground game skills how the other divisions have. Every single different division has a really high level black belts in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu showing their skills there except heavyweights do not having good ground game skills. Mark Hunt yesterday showed a lot of mistakes in [his] ground game. Brendan Schaub’s last fight too with.. I forgot his name, didn’t show too much of ground game. They improve a lot in wrestling game to put the guys down, to throw the guys to the ground, that improve a lot but the ground game is still a little bit far from the other divisions.”
Gonzaga, surely feeling a wave of confidence after putting away two straight opponents, isn’t necessarily trash talking but instead highlighting holes in the games of his fellow heavyweights.
Gonzaga next faces Travis Browne at The Ultimate Fighter 17 Finale. Browne does have two submissions wins to his name with his last win coming by arm-triangle but is at his best when the fight stays on its feet as 9 of his 13 wins have come by (T)KO. Gonzaga might just look to put his observation to the test in a fight that, on paper, favors each fighter heavily, depending on where the fight ends up.
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