Roger Gracie has limited time inside the cage as a professional MMA fighter.
Saturday night, he will make a giant leap in terms of competition when he meets former Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Muhammed Lawal at Strikeforce: Barnett vs. Kharitonov live on Showtime.
For Gracie (4-0), though, there was no second-guessing when Strikeforce officials called about the bout.
“I accepted straight away, I know he’s a great fighter,” Gracie said. “I know his skills are very good, but to be honest with you in order to move forward, you got to fight the best. In the beginning, you can think about gaining experience, and begin fighting the fighters with the same experience you have.
“To be honest, I feel ready to fight against anyone. I just told them I’m ready to fight, just give me whoever you want and they have me him. I think he’s a great challenge and the bigger the challenger, the bigger the reward. I’m really looking forward to it.”
As should be quite familiar, Gracie is a submission machine, having captured several championships in submission wrestling. He has won his first four MMA fights by tap out, as well.
“I think it’s just knowing how to position yourself in the right way,” said Gracie, on working for submissions. “There’s no real secret in that. Nothing really changed in my game since I started doing more MMA, it’s just now that I have to grapple dealing with punches at the same time.”
This will be Lawal’s first fight since 2010 when he dropped the light heavyweight title to Rafael Cavalcante. “King Mo” has been on the sidelines working on recovering from a knee injury suffered during the fight.
“I think he’s a very, very tough fighter. He’s very dangerous and he’s very fast,” Gracie said. “He has unbelievable speed. He’s not the most technical fighter out there, but physically, he’s very strong, which makes him very dangerous.
“I can’t say that it’ll be an easy fight for sure. I’m pretty confident in my game, and I think he’s very strong but I think I have to have a clever strategy against him and hopefully everything will be fine.”