It’s been over a year since Rolles Gracie made his lone appearance in the UFC Octagon. It’s not a performance the 32-year-old fighter was happy with, but he sure did learn from it.
Touted as the return of the Gracie family to the UFC, Rolles struggled in his only fight in the UFC, losing by TKO to Joey Beltran in the second round of their bout at UFC 109.
Before that match-up happened, Gracie had three previous fights, all ending in the first round and all ending by way of submission. Looking back on this, however, Gracie doesn’t think he learned a thing until that fight in the UFC.
“For my other three fights, my other three wins, I probably didn’t learn anything,” Gracie told MMAWeekly.com. “The number one thing I know, it’s hard to be 100-percent on the day of the fight. You always come with minor injuries, but I wouldn’t fight again with a big injury like I had. And also maybe I underestimated my opponent. I thought I was going to be able to beat him even with the injury on my foot. At the time I didn’t know it was broken, I only found out it was broken after the fight, I just thought it was a bad sprain.”
The broken foot aside, Gracie still believes he could have had a much better showing when he faced Beltran.
“In the beginning, maybe if I was playing around a little bit using the clock more on my favor,” Gracie commented. “Maybe I wouldn’t go in there and try to get a submission in the first round in the early stages of the fight.”
Consider the professor becoming the student.
Now that he’s healthy again, Gracie has been looking forward to stepping back into active competition for some time now, but after signing with the Shine Fights promotion in 2010, the situation quickly soured.
“I signed with Shine. They kept saying they were going to have shows, they’re going to have shows, nothing was happening. I was waiting, waiting, waiting, then the CEO quit and the matchmaker quit, and if I was still waiting for them, I wouldn’t be fighting this weekend,” Gracie said.
Shine Fights has yet to be heard from again, so Gracie is moving on to his next challenge. He will return to action this weekend at Urban Conflict Championship in New Jersey where he will face Braden Bice in a heavyweight match-up.
Of course the first order of business is winning this weekend, but Gracie is focused on staying busy in 2011, putting 2010 in the rear-view mirror.
“I want to fight as many times as I can,” said Gracie. “After this fight, I want to see if I can get another fight before July because I’m going to have another baby in July, so the month of July and maybe early August it’s going to be hard for me to fight.”
Unlike many fighters before him that have been in the UFC and then exited, Gracie won’t go as far as to say his long-term goal is to get back to the world’s biggest MMA promotion. His intention is to continue improving as a fighter and if he does that job, the UFC will notice on their own.
“I just want to fight,” Gracie stated. “I do this because I love it, I think I was born to do this, and I just think it will be a consequence.
“If I’m doing good, it’s just a matter of time for my manager to receive another phone call from them.”