It’s been nearly three years since Rolles Gracie had his one and only fight in the UFC, but the learning experience is something he’s carried with him ever since.
Stepping in as an undefeated 3-0 prospect, Gracie had a lot of pressure on day one in the UFC because his famous last name doesn’t lend him any grace period or warm up fights.
Things didn’t go his way because Gracie soon found himself on the outside looking in after being finished by TKO, losing to Joey Beltran in his only fight in the Octagon.
Now with five more fights under his belt and a load of training and experience to boot, Gracie has re-invented himself with a striking game, improved cardio and still the jiu-jitsu you’d expect with a last name like his.
“Every time I get more confident. For the past two fights, I walked in with the mentality that maybe I’ll stand for the whole fight. I’m getting more confident with my stand-up skills because of the team and the coaches we have,” said Gracie when speaking with MMAWeekly.com.
Surrounded by the team at Renzo Gracie’s gym in New York as well as coaches like Mark Henry, Gracie has become a whole new animal over the last couple of years, and following three wins in 2012, his phone has been busy with offers for the new year.
“Within a few hours from the fight, I already had like three offers to fight again. I’m weighing my options, I’m still under contract with ONE FC, I have a couple of places I could go, I’m still under contract here in the U.S. with World Series of Fighting, so I have some options to see what’s best for my career in 2013,” said Gracie.
“We all know that the best heavyweights are in the UFC. That’s a thing I was talking about with Ali (Abdel-Aziz) my manager about, let’s see what’s out there, what doors are open. I still want to test myself against the best.”
The UFC will always be a sticking point for Gracie because he didn’t get to show his best that night in 2010. He wasn’t ready for that moment and Gracie readily admits it, but he’s starting to reach the level now where he could face the best heavyweights in the world.
It’s not the same fighter that fought Joey Beltran at UFC 109, and Gracie hopes to one day prove that to everybody on the biggest stage possible.
“I still need to prove it, not only to myself, because I know that loss it was just an accident on the way to my career. I know if I fought Joey (Beltran) again, I’d beat him, I know if I fought him again 10 times, I’d beat him 10 times,” Gracie stated.
“I need prove that I belong among the best and that I can compete against the best.”