Opinion: Another Gracie Ready To Return To Action
By Jesse Heitz
News recently broke that a member of the world famous Gracie Family was planning on returning to the active competition within the confines of a cage. The Gracie in question was not a young lion of the family, but a veteran in Renzo Gracie.
In an interview published by Yahoo Sports, Renzo Gracie commented on his planned return by stating,
“I’ve been so busy over the years that I have not ever really been able to focus on my own training and fight career,”
“But I will fight again. I have been training hard and will be able to focus on myself and my own training soon. For sure I am going to fight again. We will see where and against who but it is going to happen soon. Fighting is just inside me.”
Bravo, I salute the perpetual warrior spirit that Renzo, perhaps beyond any of his Gracie counterparts, embodies. I always root for the underdog, but in his late 40s and not having fought in the roughly three and half years since he was stopped by Matt Hughes, I seriously question Gracie’s chances of getting passed any upper echelon fighter.
Don’t get me wrong, he’s one of the all-time great grapplers, and is one of the few members of his family to have diligently trained in disciplines aside from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, which is admirable. Not all of his family members are willing to concede that Jiu-Jitsu alone is not enough anymore.
In fact, arguably the most famous member of the Gracie clan, Royce Gracie, disparagingly commented on Renzo Gracie’s embrace of what in his opinion is a misguided philosophy on training. Royce firmly believes that the failures of Renzo’s pupils stems solely from the fact that they have veered too far away from Jiu-Jitsu.
Royce needs to come to terms with reality, and given the words Renzo fired back, he’s inclined to agree. It’s not 1993 anymore, most every fighter who makes it to any of the larger promotions is competent or at least aware of the submission game and the dangers it poses. Renzo’s comeback would be a train wreck if he opted to focus on his submission game only.
Now, I don’t at all think that he’s going to win a war on the feet, but it might be enough to allow an opening for him to get the fight to the ground, his domain. Granted, he doesn’t have a fight scheduled, but if and when he comes back, I do sincerely hope that it’s the multi-faceted Renzo, not an older and broken down version that has taken Royce’s horrendous advice.