Following a nearly two year layoff, light-heavyweight Roger Gracie of the famed Gracie Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu clan is ready to return to MMA.
While he may not have been actively competing, Gracie used his time to work on his craft and become the best fighter he could become.
“I took a break from professional competition, but I never stopped training,” Gracie told MMAWeekly.com. “BJJ and martial arts is life. I just continued to hone my skills and do what I love doing. That’s just me. That’s how I live my life. Without this sport, life is less colorful.
“As martial artists, we need to be our best versions, not just in the cage or in a competition, but in life as well. Just continue to work hard all the time and give it your all. Have a positive outlook in life. This is the secret to success.”
In his last MMA bout, in 2014 against James McSweeney for ONE Championship, Gracie managed to get his first TKO victory and rebound off a loss in his lone UFC appearance the year prior.
“MMA is an amazing thing because there are so many ways fights can end,” Gracie said. “As much as I love BJJ, getting that TKO win was exhilarating and definitely one of my favorite moments of all time.”
In his second bout for ONE, Gracie (7-2) will take on Michal Pasternak (11-0) for the promotion’s vacant 205-pound championship on Friday in Kallang, Singapore, in the show’s co-main event.
“He’s unbeaten, which makes him a very credible opponent,” said Gracie of Pasternak. “At light-heavyweight, also, you have to be careful because any landed strike could mean lights out. I’ve trained hard for this fight and I am confident of victory.”
For Gracie, claiming a ONE title is something he feels will be a great honor for his MMA career.
“Fighting for the ONE light-heavyweight championship is a tremendous opportunity for me and I am proud to get the chance to represent the promotion as one of its champions,” Gracie said. “The only thing left for me to do is with this fight against Michal Pasternak and take the belt back home.”
While he’s back in the cage again fighting, Gracie is not one to look beyond what lays in front of him. For now he’ll focus on Friday night, and after that, he’ll take things as they come.
“As always, it’s just a fight by fight thing,” said Gracie. “You can’t tell if this is something you can do forever, so while I have my health and while I have my youth, I’m going to seize the moment and just live my life to the fullest.
“I can do this through MMA and there’s no other place I’d rather be than in that cage. I’m ready and I’m excited for fight night.”