Roger is back, but not for long. The 10X black belt world champion agreed to put the gi on and compete again after seven years away just to say goodbye. The IBJJF announced this past week that Roger Gracie will be one of the 8 athletes competing for the US$ 40,000 grand prize on August 24, at the second edition of the Pro League GP. In this exclusive interview, Roger Gracie revealed why he decided to accept the challenge and jump back in the competition circuit once again. It has a lot to do with fighting one guy in particular, Marcus Almeida Buchecha. After their epic match at Metamoris 1, in 2012, which ended in a tie, Roger will finally have the chance to compete against the only man to threat his title as Jiu-Jitsu’s greatest competitor of all times. Here’s what Roger had to tell us.
Jiu-Jitsu Magazine: What made you decide to come back to competing in the gi at the Pro League GP?
Roger Gracie: I’ve been away for a the past 7 years, so I wanted to have a final challenge competing in the gi. This GP came around right around the right moment. This will be my final event in the gi.
The GP could mean a rematch against Buchecha five years after the match you guys had at Metamoris, in 2012. Does that have any influence in your decision to compete again?
That’s the only reason I agreed to compete. Buchecha is considered to be best competitor in the world today. I’ve been away for the past 7 years and I want to have my last match against him.
Will you take a break in your MMA career until the Pro League or will both sides of your life run parallel until August?
I intend to keep on training MMA. It’s very likely that I will fight MMA prior to the Pro League GP, in August.
What do you think about the current moment of Jiu-Jitsu competitions today, with athletes finally being able to make a living out of their talents as many events offer money prizes for competitors?
It’s great to see how it has evolved. Back then, you had to transition to MMA to make real money. Today, you can live off your Jiu-Jitsu career as you get paid really well for competing and winning Jiu-Jitsu events.
Any chance we will see you competing at the 2017 ADCC, roughly one month after the Pro League GP?
As of today I have no interest in competing without the gi. I will focus in my MMA career and this final Jiu-Jitsu event in August.