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Roger Gracie: 'I Fight Because I'm Proud of the Family'

With Gracie as his last name, one can say Strikeforce light heavyweight Roger was born into jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts.

But what if the highly decorated grappler wasn't a part of MMA's first family? Probably a life less involved in the fighting arts, Gracie suggested Monday on's The MMA Hour.

"That's the main reason I fight because I'm proud of the family," Gracie told host Ariel Helwani. "If I didn't have the Gracie name, I'm not sure if I'd be fighting this much, if I was going to be a fighter at all."

There's a considerable amount of pressure in having a famous lineage: People are always talking about Gracie and asking him when his next fight is going to be. Taking a positive from his situation, Roger has learned how to channel the pressure towards his fight preparations.

"The difference which makes you a good fighter or not is how well you can deal with the pressure and I think that's something I learned a lot the past year is to use that [to] my favor," said the 29-year-old Gracie. "The more pressure for me, the better, because You are just going to make me train even harder. You are going to push me forward to do better and better."

Born to the late Mauricio Motta Gomes, a seventh degree Brazilian jiu-jitsu black and red belt, and Reila Gracie, daughter of Carlos Gracie, might have pushed Roger into a life of fighting whether he would have found it fulfilling or not. Luckily, it's something the dominant jiu-jitsu competitor is thankful for.

"[Fighting is] the joy of my life apart from my family," Gracie said. "I can't see myself doing anything else. The main drive I always had as a father was because I knew where I came from and I knew where I stand in the family. Now if I didn't have that, I don't know if I would have the drive, but now I love what I do and I'm thankful to God that he put me in this place."

Gracie on Jan. 29 will face Trevor Prangley at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Cyborg in San Jose.

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