Royce Gracie, the original UFC champion, hasn't fought in almost three years. But in a wide-ranging interview with Emirates Jiu-Jitsu, he demonstrated that he can still offer a lot of smart commentary on MMA.
Among Gracie's interesting comments: He's a huge fan of UFC welterweight champion Georges St. Pierre.
"GSP knows how to use a lot of strategy," Gracie said. "It's tough to find somebody to beat him right now. That's one of the guys who knows how to use strategy -- he's not just good but he brings strategy. I like guys who can use strategy, not just tough guys. GSP is at the top of my list in knoing how to use strategy, how to bring an opponent out of his game, how to beat a guy without taking a beating. And he's good in standup and good at grappling."
Gracie also discussed visiting China for an MMA event, and he said that reaching fans in China, India and the Middle East is a key component of the sport's growth.
"The UFC is still a baby," Gracie said. "You haven't see nothing yet. It's going to grow a lot. ... There's still a lot of space to grow. ... We have not gotten the Arabic community, the Chinese community and Indian community. And those three together are the biggest in the world."
-- Gracie discussed the upcoming UFC debuts of his relatives Rolles Gracie and Renzo Gracie, saying he thinks Renzo can out-box and out-grapple Matt Hughes.
-- Gracie said he's not officially retired: "I never said I was retired, I said I lost the itch to fight," he said. "I didn't say I was retired."
-- Gracie doesn't like the way many martial arts schools give out black belts to people who aren't qualified to be black belts, and as a statement on that he says he actually considers himself a blue belt.
The full interview is available at the Emeriates Jiu-Jitsu YouTube channel.