clock menu more-arrow no yes

Filed under:

Ralek Gracie Doesn't Feel Any Pressure in Facing 'The Gracie Hunter'

Ralek GracieTOKYO -- Rolyer Gracie, Royce Gracie, Renzo Gracie and Ryan Gracie all fell victim to Kazushi Sakuraba - "The Gracie Hunter". Ralek, son of UFC creator Rorion Gracie, is the next to step up to the plate. The 24-year-old represents a new generation of MMA's founding family, but although he shares the same name, he does not feel the pressure that his uncles felt when facing Sakuraba.

Ralek Gracie met with the press at East 21hotel to discuss being "hunted", his preparation and his route to victory against Sakuraba.

The last time you participated in a Dream event was two years ago. What have you reinforced over the last two years?
Everything. I feel great. I feel strong and faster and I feel more comfortable. More training partners and better training partners. Just overall. Just everything.
Can you tell us what impressions you have towards your opponent, Sakuraba?
He is a little bit crazy I've heard. But no, I think he's a wonderful fighter, and I can't wait to fight. He's someone who is going to show me a lot about myself and I'm really excited.
So as you are aware, this opponent of yours, Sakuraba has defeated your uncles. As a member of the Gracie family do you have any special feelings towards Sakuraba?
No, like I said, I think he is a good fighter and I want to test myself against him. Royce beat him too so I feel like I'm going to do this for myself and I'll see how it goes.
This will be your first match in a cage. Have you prepped yourself so that you are able to fight well in a cage?
Yeah, I've been prepping my whole life. I feel like there's subtle differences but really I feel that if you're not ready, you're not ready and if you are ready, you are. And I feel ready.
Have you talked to your uncles about this fight and did they give you any advice?
Yeah, just watch out for the kimura (laughs) and do your best. They're not really concerned it's just a matter of me going through and doing what I'm supposed to do.
Do you feel added pressure with Sakuraba being called "The Gracie Hunter" or is he just another opponent for you?
No. Not at all. I just feel like obviously he is someone who has fought against my uncles and cousins and done very well but I really feel like I have the tools. I'm not really concerned, more than anything I just want to get it over with.
What tools do you think you have over Sakuraba? Obviously he is a submission specialist and so are you so where do you think you have the advantage?
Overall, I feel faster. I feel like I'm more comfortable with my technique at this point to where if anything, he can't beat me. You know, for him to catch me is going to be very difficult. If he can't catch me, then I feel like I can only win and I can take my opportunity if he gives it to me. If not, hopefully I can just control the fight.