Newly acquired Strikeforce heavyweight fighter Roger Gracie is currently wrapping up preparation for his upcoming fight with Kevin Randleman, which is going down this weekend at “Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery” in St. Louis, Missouri.
Roger is a member of the legendary Gracie clan and is well-versed in their Brazilian Jiu-jitsu stylings. In fact, his career up until this point was primarily as a Jiu-jitsu fighter. He has competed in just about every major grappling tournament in the world and has defeated a host of top international grapplers. This fight against Randleman will be his third professional Mixed Martial Arts contest and, despite the fact that Randleman owns over thirty pro-MMA bouts, Gracie stated in an exclusive interview with Fightline that he is dialed in and confident.
“I’m just really focused for this fight,” he said. “I know Randleman is a great fighter. He’s extremely dangerous, he’s really fast. He knocked out [Mirko] “Cro Cop” [Filipovic], who is a much better stand up fighter than he is, but because of his speed and his power he beat him pretty quick. He has over thirty fights now so I think it will be a great experience… I’m excited.”
Gracie, who has been training for this fight with his cousin Renzo Gracie and their friend Ricardo Almeida, is not getting ahead of himself. He is taking his MMA career one fight at a time and doesn’t have his sights sight on the Strikeforce title, yet anyway.
“I mean, as long as I keep fighting and I keep winning that’s where the path will lead,” said Gracie. “But [the title’s] not on my mind, you know what I mean? Competing for the title, for the belt — I don’t really care about titles. I fight for the thrill that you have when you compete against someone. You know, I think if I keep winning that that will happen for sure but it’s not something that I’m going to worry about.”
Gracie has not competed in MMA in two years but he has stayed busy and in shape by competing in grappling competitions. He even has plans to participate in one of the biggest grappling tournaments in the world shortly after his fight with Randleman, proving that he means what he says about the thrill of competition.
“I think it’s both,” Gracie said when asked if he focused more on grappling or MMA. “I never plan to stop fighting Jiu-jitsu. I’m gonna compete in the World Championship three weeks after my fight with Randleman… It’s been two years since I fought, since my last fight, but I’ve been training to compete if it happened in the last two years but I’m sure now everything will be fine. I’m probably gonna be competing more than I’ve been in the last couple of years.”
Gracie and Randleman will square off this Saturday at “Strikeforce: Heavy Artillery” at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis, Missouri. The card will also see Strikeforce Heavyweight Champion Alistair Overeem defend his title for the first time against recent Fedor victim Brett Rogers. In other heavyweight action, former UFC Heavyweight Champion Andrei Arlovski will look to get back in the win column against Antonio “Giant” Silva. You can catch the action live on Showtime. As always, FightLine.com will provide live coverage of the event.
For the full interview with Gracie, click here.