When it comes to his 2017, welterweight Neiman Gracie would have liked to have been more active, but other than that, it was a very good year for him.
In two bouts, both in Bellator, Gracie was able to pick up two finishes and remain undefeated to start off his career.
“It was a great year,” Gracie told MMAWeekly.com. “It was a year of learning. I wish I would have fought more, but I was able to. I wish to keep doing what I did last year. If I have the opportunity to fight more, it will be great.
“I was able to get two finishes. I’m starting to get more comfortable out there. This is my fifth year fighting professionally, so I’ve been training stand-up and wrestling for a while now, and I’m much more comfortable now. Now I’m able to strike with strikers and wrestle with wrestlers.”
Neiman Gracie is More Than His Family Name
As part of the famed Gracie family, Neiman feels at first people saw his family name ahead of his fighting skill, but over the course of his career he’s been able to show people he is truly a fighter first.
“I think in the beginning they saw me as a Gracie who happens to fight, but now I think they are starting to see me as a fighter who happens to be a Gracie,” said Gracie. “It’s always going to be part of me to represent my family. It keeps the legacy alive.”
Gracie (7-0) will look to add to his undefeated streak when he faces Javier Torres (10-3) in a Bellator 198 main card 170-pound bout on Saturday in Rosemont, Ill.
“For me the fight is the same,” Gracie said. “The match-up is going to be tough. (Torres is) a tough fighter. But I’m going to try to do what I do: take him down and choke him. I hope it works again.”
Having had great success in Bellator to begin his career, Gracie feels like he’s earned his way into title contention for 2018.
“I think I’m ready for the title this year, for sure,” said Gracie. “I’ll get in a couple more fights; maybe two or three; and I’ll be ready for a title shot.”