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Watch > Episode > Royce Gracie - The Original UFC Champion: How Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Came To Dominate The World

Royce Gracie - The Original UFC Champion: How Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu Came To Dominate The World


UFC Hall of Famer

A Born Fighter

“You train to win. I didn’t train to lose.” Royce Gracie is a UFC legend.

But, one could argue the Gracie family is a factory of fighters. It started with Carlos Gracie, Royce’s grandfather. Carlos founded the first Gracie Academy. Royce’s father, Helio expanded the academy and made crucial modifications to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

Born in 1966 into a family of nine children, Royce had a huge legacy to live up to.

His father fought over 17 fights, beating fighters twice his weight. Royce was quick to follow suit and earned his black belt at 18.

The Gracie Academy

The Gracie Academy goes back almost 100 years and continues to thrive today.

While the original academy began in Brazil, in 1978, Rorian Gracie opened the American academy in Torrance, CA. It started in Rorian’s garage. Now, it’s a global jiu-jitsu powerhouse.

The academy was famous for its ‘Gracie challenges.’ The brothers would fight anyone at anytime off the streets. After Royce won the first UFC, the academy doubled in size.

Leaving A UFC Legacy

The UFC wouldn’t exist without the Gracie family. Rorian Gracie wanted to show the world the power of Gracie jiu-jitsu. So, he created the first UFC tournament.

This was where Royce Gracie shocked the world. Clocking it at only 180lbs, Royce won the first UFC by submission. He went on to win twice more.

He is the only man in the history of no holds barred matches to defeat four opponents in one night.

Royce’s accomplishments don’t stop there. He continued to take down men over 50lbs his size during his career. In 2003, the UFC hall of fame inducted him, and he made Sports Illustrated’s Top 50 Greatest Athletes in 2014.

The Rise of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu

Royce’s wins in UFC saw the rise of Brazilian Jiu-Jistu in America.

Many martial arts focus on strength and pure athleticism. But, the Gracie’s proved that jiu-jistu allows anyone to triumph regardless of size. Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is a defensive art that capitalises on an opponent’s mistake.

Royce, with his slight stature and the most submissions in UFC history, showed the power of takedowns. Now, every UFC fighter trains in jiu-jitsu.

Royce Gracie: Where Is He Now?

Royce Gracie retired from fighting in 2013, but he never stopped training.

He teaches around the world and serves as a reserve officer of the Pocatello Police Department. Throughout his career, he has trained celebrities like Chuck Norris and Guy Ritchie among many others. The U.S. military has adopted Gracie-style jiu-jitsu, and Royce works with many government training programs.

Outside of martial arts, Royce has four kids and three dogs. He has his own diet plan called the Gracie diet, and completed a 40-mile run.

Parting Words: Confidence Is Key

In Royce Gracie’s own words, “you’re a fighter first, not an entertainer.”

Even after starring in music videos and movies, Royce will always be a household name in MMA.  At the age of 53, he still trains and teaches the next generations of fighters.

7th degree black belt, Royce was the first to prove that regardless of stature, all you need is confidence.

Download clips

A number of clips from this groundbreaking interview are now available to download, share and repost. Spread the word and defend our human rights: grab these clips today!

1. Self Confidence – Life Changing Benefit Of Jiu-Jitsu
2. About Hélio Gracie
3. Growing Up In Rio
4. Making Jiu Jitsu Known
5. Evolution Of Jiu Jitsu
6. Jiu Jitsu Is A Defensive Art
7. Nobody Trains To Lose
8. UFC Is A Strategy Game
9. Fighting Sumo Wrestler Akebono
10. Fighting In Japan
11. Thoughts On Today’s MMA
12. How Do You Know When To Retire
13. Royce VS Tyson


00:00 | Trailer.
02:17 | Brian’s introduction.
03:19 | Brian’s thanks to the Gracie family for saving his life.
08:01 | You don’t know someone until you have rolled with them on the mats.
09:32 | Royce describes his Father Hélio Gracie and his influence on the future of Martial Arts worldwide.
18:43 | What it was like growing up in Copacabana, Rio de Janeiro.
21:55 | Taking Gracie Jiu Jitsu to America.
28:56 | Today, the fighter has to know his strategy when going into a fight.
32:42 | What Royce remembers about his brother’s idea of starting the UFC.
34:47 | Why Royce developed his famous poker face.
37:10 | The difficulties in starting the UFC., and why he was chosen over his older brothers for the first fight.
41:13 | Royce Gracie’s memories of the first UFC fight on TV and the reaction that followed.
46:54 | Royce Gracie’s memories of his first five fights.
50:46 | What Royce thinks when he faces an opponent often much bigger than himself.
52:31 | What it was like to fight for Pride in Japan.
59:52 | The early days of Pride.
1:02:10 | Royce Gracie’s views on how Mixed Martial Arts has changed over the last ten years
1:04:40 | His favourite fighters now.
1:06:18 | There is a difference between an athlete and a fighter.
1:11:54 | His work with law enforcement and special forces.
1:14:00 | The Gracie family is very large and spread across the world.
1:15:29 | When Mike Tyson wanted to fight Royce.
1:17:45 | What his life is like now and why he advocates the Gracie diet.
1:20:46 | Best and worst days of his life.
1:22:43 | What scares him.
1:25:59 | Success secrets.
1:26:50 | Brian’s summing up.


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