MMA pioneer Royce Gracie won his fights with the ground game. Yet the Brazilian jiu-jitsu black belt has high praise for two countrymen who do their best work on the feet.
During a breakfast last month in Beijing for the Chinese event Art of War, Gracie discussed what he likes most about UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida and middleweight champion Anderson Silva.
“Lyoto is one of the few guys that knows how to use strategy,” Gracie said. “Besides his karate and his ground game, he knows how to use strategy and that’s what puts him on the top. I saw his victory over Rashad. He wasn’t punched one single time in the whole fight and that’s (the strategy).”
Gracie also complimented Silva for similar reasons. Although Silva was criticized by some for his UFC 97 performance against Thales Leites, Gracie praised the showing.
“I don’t understand why people criticized (Silva) so much,” Gracie said. “He used a perfect strategy and wasn’t hit in the whole fight, had a clean fight and won. Do we have rules? So let’s fight under the rules. Why would he go there and fight until he rips his opponent’s head off? … Why would he expose himself? You have to use your mind. I like the guys who use strategy -- these are the guys who are on the top: Lyoto, Anderson, GSP. They fight clean and take their opponents out of their own games.”
Asked if he is retired, the UFC legend finished the conversation with his sense of humor.
“I don’t have anything in a contract,” he said with a laugh. “I’m OK, relaxing, doing a lot of seminars, traveling all around the world, but nothing is on my mind. That’s it. I don’t feel that will to fight anymore. Only if someone gives me a great offer, so I won’t (refuse). I know where the will lives. If I decide to, I can go there and ask her out to have dinner with me.”