The Gracie family has a wealth of experience in both mixed martial arts and Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and Royce Gracie was sure to pass some of that knowledge onto Robson Gracie Jr.
Many may assume the Gracie family gathers around for big family dinners on the regular, but the growth of jiu-jitsu has spared them to all corners of the globe. That is why Robson felt so priveldged to have Royce Gracie’ support before his Bellator debut in December.
“I was talking to Royce one night before,” Robson told Bloody Elbow ahead of his sophomore outing at Bellator 222. “He came to my room to give me some advice. He said, ‘don’t worry. Don’t try to finish it in the first round. Feel the fight... sometimes you’re going to try and go for the finish quickly in the first round and get disappointed when it doesn’t happen. Then you start going down. You’re here to fight for three rounds, so get ready for three rounds.”
Robson admits the Gracie name does add some degree of pressure, but at the end of the day he is the only one stepping into that cage.
“Inside the cage, the Gracie name is not going to save me. It’s not going to make my opponent tap. It’s what I’m doing,” he shared. “Of course, I feel a little bit of pressure, but at the same time it motivates me. I try to use motivation instead of pressure.”
Robson’s journey to professional MMA was a bumpy road of cancelled fights, injuries and missed opportunities. Heading into his second bout, Robson is “really happy. I can’t wait. It’s hard to explain, but I’m really happy. The first fight was the hardest. After that everything that comes makes me happy,” he expressed. “My dreams was to step into the cage at least once. That was the hardest. Now I’m relaxed, focused and ready to take it one at a time. I know how to deal with the pressure and how it feels to be in there.”
Robson’s daughter recently turned 10-years-old. Between his training state-side and her living in Brazil, parenting can be tough. “She understands,” he assured. “When she’s with me, I don’t train that much because I want to enjoy that time with her. That’s the hardest part... I have a lot of people helping. She has a good mom. She is a little bit scared sometimes. Even in my last fight, we watched it after — she didn’t watch it live. She got mad because I got caught with a couple of punches. She got mad and said she didn’t want me to do it again.”
Robson Gracie Jr. (1-0) fights Oscar Vera (0-0) at Bellator 220 on Saturday, June 14. The event takes place at Madison Square Garden in New York and is headlined by a Bellator welterweight title fight between Rory MacDonald and Neiman Gracie.