Even Rickson Gracie doesn’t think pure BJJ players can do well in MMA any more

The Gracie Challenge was simple; come to our gym and fight us under vale tudo rules. If you think your martial art is better than BJJ then come over and test it against ours. It gets to the very crux of understanding evolutionary man; can I take him? Can I defend what’s mine against this dude? When your livelihood and reputation is based on a martial art, you better be able to back it up, and this is what the Gracies did. The foundation of the UFC was to display the dominance of Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, remember. The gap between the  vale tudo rules originally favoured by the Gracies and unified rules MMA is now so large that being a very good grappler is like owning a store specialising in only staplers. If someone across the road sells a larger variety of office supplies than you, you’re business isn’t going to succeed. We’ve know that for a long time now, but there are still fighters coming into MMA thinking one discipline is enough. Still, Tatame asked Rickson Gracie if a pure BJJ player would do well in today’s MMA and he said:

“No, things have changed. Nowadays the rules impose a rhythm to the bout, conditioning and a game plan which imposes Jiu-Jitsu to have a determined shape… If you take off time and weight (limit) you might add some technique, game plan, conditioning and a way of thinking. From the moment it’s a five-minute three-round fight, you spend some energy, lose 17 to 22lbs to fight and you have a high level training technology.”

Rickson went on to say that in MMA you would only use about 30% of the BJJ you would learn in class. Considering BJJ is judo evolved and judo essentially evolved from ju-jutsu it only makes sense that BJJ could be made more efficient still when a striking opponent in brought into play. I’m not aware of a stand-alone grappling style that essentially takes the 30% of BJJ that Rickson thinks fighters use, but I do know I’d like to see it. [source]

Published on June 7, 2012 at 7:01 pm
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