When it comes to his second round submission win over Dave Marfone in June at Bellator, welterweight Neiman Gracie couldn’t be much happier with the way the fight played out.
“I like my performance in this fight,” Gracie told MMAWeekly.com. “I feel I was able to showcase more of my striking and also my takedowns. I felt really strong and I was able to put my game to work.”
What’s even more pleasing for Gracie is the fact he got to showcase his skills at Madison Square Garden in front of what amounted to a hometown crowd.
“That was the highlight of my career up until now,” said Gracie. “It was one of the best nights of my life because I was able to fight close to home in front of my students, my friends, in the biggest area in the world. I wish I could fight there many more times.”
As part of the fourth generation of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu’s legendary Gracie family, Neiman has learned to deal with the expectations that come with his lineage, and now embraces the opportunity to live up them.
“I’m used to that pressure already because I’ve been competing since I was like 10 years old,” Gracie said. “Right now actually I enjoy it. I’m glad that I’m here I’m competing and representing my family. I’m not just teaching classes and doing whatever, I’m right here fighting and trying to do my best.
“I’m trying to build my own legacy, but I think my family is doing what we were meant to do: which is spread Jiu-Jitsu around the world. We’ve done that already and now we’re just having fun. We’re just fighting and showcasing our blood and skill in Jiu-Jitsu to the world.”
Gracie (6-0) takes on late replacement Zak Bucia (18-8) in a main card 170-pound bout at Bellator 185 on Friday in Uncasville, Conn.
“I’m going to do what I always try to do and take him down and get his back and finish (Bucia),” said Gracie.
While Gracie is looking forward to seeing where he can take his MMA career in 2018, he’s not opposed to returning to action sooner if given the opportunity.
“Usually I take it fight by fight, but it’s getting to the time where I want bigger fights,” Gracie said. “So maybe next year I am going to get some bigger fights with bigger names.
“I like to fight more often for sure. If after this fight they offer me another fight soon, I’ll take it.”