Thursday, Mar 22, 2001
Attention Fight Fans…
For those fans who want to wait until the Pay-Per-View airing, we will NOT put up any Pride-13 results on our main news page, we will provide links to subpages with the results and/or any other articles that may give away the results.< So, there will be no reason to stay away from your beloved FCF News!
FCF Pride-13 Previews…
The Smiling Gracie
By Josh Gross
TOKYO–Comebacks, either from defeat, injury or both, can be the most trying experience any fighter will ever face. Both Renzo Gracie and Dan Henderson head into their fight on March 25th hoping to exorcise the demon that can eat away at the core of any fighter–self-doubt. Although neither will admit it, and judging by their confidence at Thursday’s press conference, both fighters are eager to put ugly losses in their last appearances behind them.
Renzo faces the tougher battle of the two. The animated Brazilian not only faces a hungry opponent, he’ll also have to deal with the memory of a dislocated elbow and disheartening loss against Kazushi Sakuraba at Pride 10.
"I’m better now, that’s the truth" said Gracie in his thick Portuguese accent. "I passed through a test, and I ended up with my arm broke. I remember sitting at home thinking ‘Man, I have my arm broke. I am out of shape and I’m home for two months doing nothing. Where can I go now? What can I do now?’ I cannot go back, only forward and here I am today to fight again."
Was there ever a doubt he’d be back? Of course not, but it’s only human nature to question oneself after things don’t go right. Representing every ounce of toughness and respect his family name carries with it, Renzo denied the urge to take a baby step after his injury.
"Pride asked me if I want to fight someone less tough, someone to get me going again and I said ‘no’. They asked me whom I want to fight and I said (Vanderlei) Silva. They thought I was crazy, but I said ‘Silva, I want to fight Silva.’"
For now, any thoughts of a Silva fight must be put on the backburner because looking past Henderson could result in a second consecutive defeat. Like many wrestlers, Henderson has had great success in mixed martial arts and Gracie recognizes that.
"Wrestling is a sport that you have to embrace to love. There’s no money in it. There’s nothing but passion, so they’re pretty good fighters. They’re basically like jiu-jitsu guys when I was growing up. We embraced it and loved it for the sport. So by dedicating yourself to that you’re going to be a tough guy. Without a doubt the guys from wrestling doing mixed martial arts today are tough."
Henderson’s toughness is unquestioned and the possibility of Gracie losing is a very real one. Despite a severe weight difference–he weighed in at 174lbs–there is no hesitation for a man many consider the most progressive fighter in the Gracie clan.
"I believe that the weight is a big factor, but I think I can overcome it. I’m used to fighting bigger guys. Maybe I can use it as an excuse if I lose," he said as laughter filled the room. "I was bigger. I got up in my training to 190lbs, but I did so much training in the last 20 days my weight dropped tremendously."
Considering a 20-plus-pound weight advantage and excellent wrestling skills Gracie could have a hell of a time against Henderson, yet the 34-year-old remains undaunted.
"It’s going to be tough. There’s not such thing as a fool in the ring anymore. It’s going to be hard to hit him, take him down and finish him. I see a guy like Henderson and I really enjoy fighting him. It’s not about weight. I’m not worried about if I lose what I’m going to do next. I’m going to keep fighting until the promoters say they’ve had enough of me."
The urge to fight to bigger guys has been a Catch 22 for Gracie. While he’s had some success it’s not nearly the amount he could have as a lightweight. At this point it appears as if he’s intent on fighting over 170bs.
No matter the outcome on Sunday it does not look like we’ll see Renzo lose the urge to fight anytime soon.
"I like to fight. It doesn’t matter where it is. You put me in an elevator I’ll do it. You put me on the street I’ll do it."
You want a sure bet? I can guarantee you that win or lose he’ll be smiling after the show.
"I can tell you one thing for sure. I want to end this fight like I am looking at you here–handsome as always."
posted by Full Contact Fighter @ 8:00 pm