It’s hard to believe but it’s been almost 10 years since Bob Sapp faced Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira at Pride Shockwave in 2002.
It’s a fight that Rolles Gracie remembers fondly.
Even back then before he even remotely considered doing MMA, the Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu ace was a fan of the giant Sapp, and the way he could just brutalize opponents with his power and raw strength.
Maybe it was that particular fight that stuck in Gracie’s head, because ever since then he’s always had an idea that he would one day face Sapp in the ring.
That dream is about to become reality at One FC this weekend in Jakarta.
“When Bob Sapp first came up, I was like I always had a feeling I was going to fight that guy,” Gracie told MMAWeekly.com. “I don’t know why. I had never fought MMA back then, I was still a ways from fighting, but I had a feeling that one day I was going to fight that guy and that day came.”
Looking at the fight between Sapp and Nogueira, it was hard for Gracie not to be impressed by the American’s sheer size and power. The fight only made it into the second round, but it remains one of the most memorable fights in Pride history.
“That was an epic battle,” said Gracie. “Back then he was by far the biggest guy out there. Brazilians never had to deal with those big guys, then we come to America we start to see these big guys. He had to learn how to fight well, because back then he was only using his brute strength.”
Since that time however, Sapp’s career has been filled with a lot of ups and downs, and most recently not so many good memories.
The former Pride star has lost his last 3 fights in a row and 6 out of his last 7. Still, Gracie refuses to believe that a man of Sapp’s stature and power can’t find a way to inflict some serious damage if he takes him for granted.
“You cannot take a guy that big lightly. He has 260lbs behind a jab,” Gracie pointed out. “He’s dangerous, you can never take a guy like that lightly. If you slack, you get caught and it might be a done deal. I’m training very serious, I’m taking him very serious. I don’t want him to get back on track with this fight.”
As for Gracie’s career, since his exit from the UFC after his lone fight in the organization, the Renzo Gracie trained fighter has gotten back on track with two wins in a row, and he’ll look to make it three this weekend at One FC.
“I think Bob Sapp is the biggest name I’ve fought so far, so this fight has a lot of people talking about it in Brazil so far,” said Gracie. “It’s a big fight, exactly what I was looking for. A big fight and fight someone with a name.”