Neiman Gracie talks title shots and feeling no pressure following his win over Javier Torres at Bellator 198.
Chicago, IL — The second fight in on the main card Saturday at Bellator 198 in Chicago, Neiman Gracie had an impressive act to follow. Fellow Jiu-jitsu wizard Dillon Danis had just submitted his opponent, Kyle Walker, via toe-hold. Gracie, carrying the torch for the legendary Brazilian jiu-jitsu family, was looked to for a submission spectacle of his own. And while it took a little longer, he delivered in the end, against notably better competition in Javier Torres. The finish came by an arm-triangle choke, with Gracie moving to mount in impressive fashion in the finishing sequence.
With Torres being a clear step up in competition, and Gracie now undefeated at 8-0, the obvious talk was of title shots following the event. Speaking to the media afterward with Cageside Press in attendance, Gracie agreed that he sees a title shot sooner rather than later. “Every day I feel more ready,” he said, “and it’s going to come soon.”
Nor was he disappointed by his bout taking a little longer to complete than some of the other fights on the card. “I was very relaxed out there,” Gracie told the media, “and I was happy it went to the second round, so I got more cage time.”
He also addressed the “pressure” of being a Gracie, something he was asked about repeatedly during the week. “I said that everybody always asks me if I feel pressure of being a Gracie,” he explained, “and I don’t feel any pressure. What I said was, back then, there was pressure. In Renzo’s time, in Royce’s time, there was pressure. Imagine being Royce, back then, fighting all those guys, having to prove jiu-jitsu is the best martial art. They proved it already, I don’t need to prove anything else. I just go in there, have fun, and do my thing.”
That allows Gracie to simply focus on his opponent. And in this case, Javier Torres made a conscious effort to get in the submission ace’s head. “We almost fought backstage when we were going to get in the cage,” Gracie unveiled.
Expanding on what had happened mere moments before the fight, Neiman said that “we were about to walk out, he was talking some s***, and I kind of lose my head and jump into him and people break [it up]. But it was just two minutes for us to fight, we didn’t need to do that back there.” Asked whether it was all just mind games, Gracie answered that “that’s what my coaches were telling me before, that maybe he was doing it to get in my head.”
It didn’t work, however. “Being a Gracie, when I used to go to school,” Neiman Gracie explained, “people were always trying to get in my head, picking fights with me. It never went good for them.”
One thing noticeably absent from Gracie’s performance on Saturday at Bellator 198 was a post-fight call out, something he’d promised earlier in the week. To that end, he said that “there’s many guys I would like to fight. Guys that represent their families in Bellator like me.” In particular, “Kimbo Slice’s son, Randy Couture’s son.” Either Baby Slice or Ryan Couture would be an interesting match-up, for sure. As to when that might go down, Gracie is targeting July.