T Nation

Question for the FC fighters

Who do you guys think would be the ultimate match-up? I say an in-his-prime Rickson Gracie against Vanderlei Silva. Personally, I’d love to see Silva get hurt permanently by someone. Nothing personal against Silva, but anyone who fights to hurt people instead of fighting to win deserves to get his ass handed to him. Unfortunately, I don’t think that there’s anyone who can do that right now. By the way, Frank Shamrock will be taking on Kazushi Sakuraba in August. That should be killer…

I never even thought about that. Im with u though i would love to see rickson fight silva now that i think about it. I think rickson on a good day MIGHT hand silva his ass. I also think it would be pretty cool to watch royce fight rickson. I know rickson would win and i know it wont ever happen but i just think it would be cool. I dont know im still in shock over silva losing to ortiz and that was how long ago?

What’s you’re source re: Frank vs Sak?

Anyways Rickson vs whoever is almost completely irrelevant as it seems the only ones with enough aura to fight Rickson are Japanese pro wrestlers (IMO aura translates into $$). I am a Rickson fan and my bjj team is very friendly with his - I still think Silva would demolish him. Renzo, who many consider to be the top nhb oriented Gracie, got smakced around by B level fighter Oyama this weekend. What makes you think Rickson would stand a chance against an A level fighter. For the record I view Rickson as bjj god - he just hasn’t done anything of note in vale tudo.

Your opinion is respected and appreciated, but I have to disagree with you on Rickson not being able to take Silva. Personally, I do think it would take some time, but once Rickson got him on the ground, it would be all over. Regarding the Renzo fight, I do agree with you on that one; it was a little sad. Especiallly since my coach is a black belt under Renzo and trained down at the Barra Academy in Rio for six years. One thing I will say is that the Gracies really need to start working their standing games a lot more. On that note, I think that’s why the Brazilian Top Team will lead the MMA scene for a long time to come (i.e. Sperry, the Nogiera brothers, etc). As far as my source for the Sak vs. Frank Shamrock fight, the guy that operates Sherdog posted an interview he did with Frank a few weeks ago.

A couple of things guys.

  1. The reason many people consider Rickson the greatest fighter ever is that he was absolutely the most dominant fighter during his time of any fighter. No single fighter has been as dominant in his time as Rickson was during his fighting days. There is also no documented evidence of Rickson ever losing. Think what you may about the 401-0 record, but nobody has ever seen Rickson lose. Back then MMA different than today, it was very much style v.s. style and BJJ proved superior if your opponent was a single style martial artist. If you magically sent Vanderlei Silva back in time to fight Rickson during his prime, he would have given Rickson problems. That is because Vanderlei is a very complete fighter (BJJ Brown belt, Muay Thai, takedown defenses, etc). The question is could Rickson adapt to a complete fighter when he was in his prime. Just my opinion - I think he could.

  2. Vanderlei is a bad ass. Don’t fool yourself, fighting is about intimidation and if your nick name is the ‘Axe Murderer’, and your favorite move is a heel stomp to the face when you are on your back, you can rest assured people are scared to fight him. Hurting people gives Vanderlei an edge on everyone he fights, and that is not a bad thing. I don’t think that going out to hurt people is contrary to fighting to win. You have to remember Vanderlei is predominantly a striker, that means you hit people, knee them, and stomp on their face. It is a different style of fighting than BJJ. But even in BJJ if you go for an armbar, or kneebar trust me your intent is to hurt the person.

  3. The Sakuraba v. Shamrock fight was talked about by Frank himself in and interview on June 10 in mmaweekly (www.mmaweekly.com). It will probably happen in August.

  4. The Pride fighting organization just recieved it liscense to hold events in Las Vegas. This is great news for MMA, and Pride. The only rule changes will be that there will be no kicking allowed when an opponent is down. The Nevada state commission prohibits leg and knee strikes to a downed opponent.

That’s cool about Frank/Sak. I haven’t been paying as much attention as usual to the global mma scene as there’s been too much going on in my own backyard.

As for Rickson, like a said a bjj god. Most bjj bb’s I know will say privately that Rickson can’t beat most of the tier 1 guys today. He just doesn’t have the striking game or the wrestling game. In regards to Silva - why would he go to the ground with Rickson? He’s got excellent control in the clinch and a wicked sprawl. If you doubt that watch his last couple of fights with Sak who is 10x the wrestler Rickson is.

In his prime, with different training and a different game plan Rickson could very well be one of the top guys. But now we’re talking a totally different game - and meaningless to me. Just like saying what if Bruce Lee…

Rickson’s 400-0 record is also bs. He includes all his sport jj/judo/sambo/wrestling matches on it. Of course he doesn’t include his loss to Ron Tripp in a Sambo tourney a few years ago. His record was just propaganda from back in the day when North Americans all thought boxers were the be all and end all of fighting. I doubt he took it too seriously. If you wonder why he was dominant in his time - he had no competition - not just because he was so good but because no one else in the nhb world had a clue. With the current level of competition the Gracie’s win / loss record has changed significantly. No shame in that - Royler, Renzo, Royce and Ryan have all fought top competition. If you fight the best you will lose eventually. Rickson never did.

I would also love to see a Frank Shamrock vs. Chuck Liddel fight. Liddel just beat Vitor Belfort on Fri. night in UFC#37. I think Liddel’s a solid fighter, but I would give the edge to Shamrock. I also noticed on MMA weekly that Pride is trying to work a fight between Mike Tyson and Don Frye. Where would they get the money to entice Tyson? I would like to see this as it would finally settle the arguement as to how Tyson would do in MMA fight.

how much does pride or the ufc pay their top fighters?

Geoff brings out very good points. It is true we may never know how good Rickson really was, but I will say this, Royce and Sakuraba fought a very even 90 minute fight in the Pride GP and nobody in the Gracie family disputes that Rickson was the best on Helio’s side of the family. Even Renzo (who is on the Carlos side) readily says that Rickson is the best Gracie. So I think it is at the very least an exaggeration to say that Sak is 10 times the wrestler Rickson is if Royce is not as good as Rickson and Royce took Sak 90 minutes in to a fight. As far as the supposed 401-0 record I don’t even think any of the Gracies buy that one. Even Helio pokes fun at that stat in the Rickson Pride DVD, which is why I said in my previous post, “whatever you may think of the 401-0 record…” I haven’t heard of the Sambo loss to Tripp but if it happened it’s a first on me. Geoff also makes the very valid point that when Rickson was in his prime there was really no competition, this is true, but it still doesn’t erase the fact that he won his matches. Don’t get me wrong I’m not some Rickson nut-hugger, I think if Rickson stepped in to the ring today to fight Vanderlei he’d get stompped. What I am trying to say is that I think Rickson Gracie in his prime would have been able to adjust well to the type of MMA fighter we have today. Pride generally pays more than UFC, I have heard that Randy Couture was paid $100,000 to show up and would have been paid another $100,000 to win in his fight with Josh Barnett. Also the heavyweights, and big name middle weights always make more than the light weights. I also know that Ken Shamrock is getting a whole heap of money to get his ass kicked by Tito Ortiz later this year. Why do they keep giving Ken fights? Just my opinion, but I think he sucks.

Tito got 100 show 100 win for his last fight. Jens (who has since left the UFC due to money problems, look for him to fight in Montreal for the UCC this September) only got 20 win 20 show for his fight with BJ Penn. Pride varies - they pay their journeyman fighters quite well - Goodridge gets a pretty decent monthly retainer on top of his 30-50 g’s per fight. Not sure what their top guys are at but I’d imagine equal to or more than Tito. Rickson of course gets the most (over $250,000 I imagine, although many figures are bantied about) but then so does Takada (really crappy fighter/pro wrestler). The Japanese care as much about the drama as they do about the about the skill level it seems. This may be why they keep asking for pro wrestlers to fight mma and seem to enjoy watching small Japanese fighters fight monsters (i.e. Sapp vs Tamura).

A young Gene LeBell or Joe Lewis, against any of these new guys. They may get their asses kicked, but It would be interesting to see, and of course I think everyone wonders how Bruce would have done.

vale tudo, I agree 100% on your point about Rickson likely being able to adapt to todays game if he was just coming into his prime now. Why is Sak 10x the wrestler? The fact that he was an Olympic alternate for Japan might be a good indicator while people generally acknowledge Rickson as having little wrestling ability (not none, just not much). Not saying he’s better a sub wrestling, but definitely better at takedowns and their defense. With the Royce/Sak fight Sak was never in danger but couldn’t fight his usual game due to Royce’s demands re: no time limits. It’s pretty hard to go balls out like Sak does when you have no idea how long the fight could be. IMO if there was a 20 min or 30 min time limit you would have seen a much different fight.

Having seen Gene in person I can say he is one tough old bastard. I’d question his mma capabilities as much of what he taught didn’t seem remotely applicable to mma. The only people who seemed to like it were the tradiational JJJ guys who couldn’t fight their way out of a paper bag. That said he has produced a couple of decent mma fighters although none who reached tier 1 yet (although I think Karo will soon enough). Is Joe interested in mma? I don’t know of any of his students who’ve competed in a mma event. He was a tremendous athelete (just as Lebell) so I’m sure he would have done okay at the very least provided he rounded out his skills.

The ‘what if’ person that most intrigues me is Alexander Karelin from the former USSR and Russia. I think that if he would have fought in MMA he would have owned. And Geoff my bad, I thought you meant grappler not wrestler. But Dan Severen was also an alternate for the US olumpic team in 1984 and 1988, so Dan was a decent wrestler and outwieghed Royce by 80 lbs when they fought. In MMA wrestling is used mostly for its takedown and takedown defenses, other than that wrestling must be modified to look more like submission grappling when in an MMA setting. From what I’ve seen, Rickson and Royce both have fairly good takedown defenses, which is a wrestling skill. About Sak, from when I’ve seen Sak fight he never really goes balls out. He seems to be a very patient and smart fighter, the fighters he seems to have trouble with are the ultra aggressive fighters like Vanderlei. I’m not saying that I don’t think Vanderlei is a smart fighter, but he relies much more on his physical abilites that does Sakuraba. I think that Sakuraba beats you with his mind more that his physical attributes, in my opinion he and Murillo Bustamante are the two smartest fighters in MMA. (Sak v.s. Bustamante would be a great matchup) I too think that the fight would have been different if it were fought under normal Pride rules, I think it would have forced both fighters to be more aggressive and take more risks.

Bruce Lee would get his pansy ass kicked if he was ever to fight one of todays fighters. Bruce Lee was a movie star not a fighter. He had great ideas about cross training but he was never any good.

As far as I know, Joe is not into MMA, however, he was wrestler, and always felt crosstraining was important. I think he sticks to kickboxing though as it was his strong point.

vale tudo, comparing Severn to Sak is ludicrous. Severn’s submission abilities are next to nothing (sure he submits people but it’s with “goon” submission’s, I’ve felt this first hand) while Sak has gone to the edge against the best submission guys in the world (i.e. Newton, Royler, Renzo) and won.

Rickson and Royce have good takedown defense against really crappy take down artists. I can look like I have a great sprawl against the average Karateka without being able to stop even a mediocre wrestlers takedown. Rickson would have exactly the same problems with Sak that Renzo did - Sak simply doesn’t let them play their game. If you want to ground fight you have to be able to take it there. Butt scooting against Sak doesn’t seem an effective option. Keep in mind I’m not saying Rickson couldn’t win - it’s just that the odds are stacked against him with Sakuraba. You are right about Bustamante though - his brain combined with his incredible athleticism (he can wrestle, box and is a great jj guy) is what wins it for him.

It may never happen but being as the guy needs the money how do you think Mike Tyson would fare in th UFC?

How would Tiger Woods do in a MMA event? How come no one asks this question? The reason it’s not asked is because golf has nothing to do with MMA events. Neither does Mike Tyson any boxer. They are two COMPLETELY different sports. Mike Tyson would get killed by Frank Shamrock with UFC rules as badly as Frank Shamrock would get destroyed boxing Mike Tyson. And Tiger Woods can defeat both of those men combined on any golf course. Who’s the most talented athlete?