One of the individuals competing in Bellator Fighting Championships’ upcoming light heavyweight tournament this March has been revealed as Daniel Gracie, a two-time BJJ world champion and of course member of the legendary family whose last name he shares. Gracie recently returned to action last month after being sidelined since 2006 with a chronic elbow injury with a first-round submission win over Martin Wojcik.
“The Gracie family has truly influenced MMA as we know it today and I’m proud to say that heritage continues when Daniel steps into the Bellator cage to try to become our Light Heavyweight Champion” said Bellator’s chief executive Bjorn Rebney in a press release to media. “A Gracie back in the tournament format is reminiscent of the days when the Gracies dominated MMA and that’s something I’m excited to see”.
Gracie echoed Rebney’s sentiments, explaining how his involvement in the format felt from his perspective.
“This Bellator tournament is the Gracies getting back to our origins,” replied the 38-year old PRIDE veteran when asked for his opinion on the matter. “The tournament is the way the Gracies got started in MMA. That will give me extra motivation to win this tournament.”
“I’m imagining myself winning this tournament, I have nothing but winning this tournament on my mind right now,” Gracie further explained. “Of course I know that anything can happen in MMA, but one thing I guarantee everyone that tunes in is that I’m going to put on a great show. You can bet on that.”
His participation in the Season 4 endeavor will mark a drop in weight for Gracie who has typically fought a division north of 205. “I feel faster and like my technique is better when I fight at light heavyweight. I also feel like my cardio is much improved and I’m much more explosive at 205 lbs.,” said Gracie of the change. “I feel like I’m just better all around at light heavyweight.”
Gracie is 5-2-1 in his MMA career with a win over Wes Sims from his time in the IFL. As might be expected, four of his victories have been the result of a submission.
PHOTO CREDIT – IFL