By JOHN SPECHT
MMANEWS.COM Staff Writer
Sorry Renzo, Roger is the new “baddest” Gracie on the planet. This coming on the heels of his big win over Kevin “The Monster” Randleman. Granted it was a Randleman that was not even a shell of his former self, but still a big win in the young Mixed Martial Arts career of Roger Gracie.
I envisioned this fight going similar to the fight Roger had against Roger Waterman. A big, strong, top level wrestler eventually getting caught by the slick submissions of Gracie. Roger pushes his record to a modest 3-0, but will make the rest of the Strikeforce heavyweights take notice.
Gracie talked about the pressure of fighting with the Gracie name.
“I think every Gracie has some sort of a responsibility when he fights because he's representing the whole family when he's fighting,” he said. “You have to learn to deal with that sort of pressure because you can't let that interfere with the way you fight or your concentration, so I think I've gotten pretty used to it.”
Randleman (17-15) has had a long, storied career in top level combat sports, but this could be it. Stop while your record is still over .500 for crying out loud. Like so many athletes of all sports nowadays, we see a fierce competitor trying for that last grasp at glory, trying to make yesterday not seem so far away.
At 38, Randleman was attempting a comeback at the expense of Gracie in a fight that almost never happened for Kevin, due to complications from staph infection. He vowed to retire if not cleared to fight. “The Monster” has now lost three fights in a row for the second time in his 32 fight professional career. Randleman's loss record reads more like a “Who's Who” of top fighters in the last decade. Mirko Cro Cop, Bas Rutten, Chuck Liddell, Fedor, Randy Couture, Quinton Jackson. Wow. If you are going to post 15 losses, might as well make the bulk of them against the best in the world.
Roger Gracie on how he stayed active between his fights in MMA:
“I wasn't fighting MMA, but I was still active in jiu-jitsu and grappling,” Gracie said. “That's definitely helped me a lot. The hardest thing is to deal with the pressure before the fight, all the adrenaline and things like that. It's the same. It doesn't matter the modality you're fighting. That sort of thing is just like for every single fight.”
Based on how easily he dispatched Randleman via rear naked choke, you could never tell Roger Gracie was coming off of a lengthy layoff.
“The last time I fought was in (2008), but I'm pretty sure I”ll be fighting soon,” said Gracie. “I don't know exactly when, but hopefully the second half of the year. We'll see, but I will be fighting more often.”
Let's hope so.