Recently, I had a chance to run into Eddie Bravo at Legends MMA in Hollywood, Calif. I found this to be a great opportunity to get some insight from him about UFC 107 happening this Saturday, Dec. 12 at the FedEx Forum in Memphis, Tenn.
After a long class where he taught his brand of no-gi jiu-jitsu, Eddie agreed to spend a few minutes talking about the upcoming event and weigh in on who he thinks has the advantage in a couple big fights. Here is how it went:
Erik Fontanez: UFC 107 is this weekend, do have any favorites regarding the main event between BJ (Penn) and Diego (Sanchez)?
Eddie Bravo: It’s a very tough one to call. I mean, Diego has tremendous cardio. He’s always in crazy shape. Superb wrestling…and BJ has been known to gas, but lately with his new training camp he just seems like he’s unstoppable, you know.
At lightweight it doesn’t seem like anyone can beat him, so if you gotta put your money on it, you gotta go with BJ, his stand up, his takedown defense, his boxing…it’s too close to call, but, you gotta put your money down? BJ.
Erik Fontanez: You mention his stand up being an issue. A lot of people argue that maybe at 170 (pounds), that’s more an issue than at 155, do you agree?
Eddie Bravo: Yes, yes. People remember that Jens Pulver fight that happened so long ago where he kind of, sort of faded at the end. Even Matt Serra at 155 sort of faded, so.
I’m BJ’s biggest fan, but he is not known for his cardio, that’s a fact. He is not known as a cardio machine. You know, Sean Sherk is. Kenny Florian is…
Erik Fontanez: Both are guys he’s beaten.
Eddie Bravo: Yeah, exactly. I’m not doubting BJ’s striking or his jiu-jitsu. He’s phenomenal at those points, but, like I said he’s gotten his cardio taken care of with his new camp.
He seems to be happy right now. Happy about where he’s at, what his job is and he’s really appreciating everything and I think its reflecting in his training.
Erik Fontanez: How about between Mir and Kongo. I know you’re a big jiu-jitsu practitioner. Do have Mir as a favorite in that one?
Eddie Bravo: I would say that’s another even fight. Chieck Kongo is tough as hell. He’s getting harder and harder to take down. He hits really, really hard. He kicks hard.
Um, you know again, Frank Mir is not known for his cardio, so, maybe if Chieck Kongo can wear him out for the first couple of rounds, he might be able to take it late and pour it on.
Who knows, maybe Frank Mir takes Chieck Kongo down and chokes his [expletive] out really easily.
Erik Fontanez: Is that going to be the deciding issue? If it goes to the ground, you think Mir will take it?
Eddie Bravo: Yes, especially if he gets on top. On the bottom, you remember Chieck Kongo’s ground-and-pound against that Persian guy from England? I forget his name.
Erik Fontanez: Mostapha Al-Turk?
Eddie Bravo: Yes, yes. His ground-and-pound looked pretty damn vicious against him, so, you know. Frank Mir on his back, he’s very talented on his back and he can very well pull off an arm bar or get an omoplata or get a sweep, but, you know, it’s not 100 percent.
If Frank Mir is on his back, that’s not 100 percent he’s gonna finish the fight, but if he’s on top the fights over. If Frank Mir gets on top.
Erik Fontanez: I’ve been following you on Twitter recently and I see some adventures of you and Royce Gracie hanging out at the clubs and what not. Can you tell me what Royce has been up to lately? Does he have any plans tonight?
Eddie Bravo: That’s not, I never said it was Royce Gracie. I just said it was Royce. There’s many Royce’s. (laughing)
Erik Fontanez: Oh it’s just a Royce in a gi? (laughing)
Eddie Bravo: Yeah, you know. That’s just my little doll Royce. I named him Royce. He’s got a little gi. It doesn’t even really look like Royce. I just named him Royce.
Erik Fontanez: He’s quite the party animal.
Eddie Bravo: He has nothing to do with Royce Gracie.
Erik Fontanez: Ha, ok.
Eddie Bravo: He’s going to Memphis!
Erik Fontanez: He’s going to Memphis?! Will you be there with him?
Eddie Bravo: He goes to all the UFCs. He’s gonna party and get drunk and, you know, hunt for [expletive] you know. He’s gonna be his usual self.
Erik Fontanez: Sounds awesome. Real quick question, last one. How does 10th Planet stand out against all other jiu jitsus?
Eddie Bravo: Well, the difference between 10th Planet and most other jiu jitsu schools is the obvious thing…we train exclusively no-gi. Most other schools train no-gi part time, or maybe even half the time. We train no-gi all the time.
So, when you train no-gi all the time, the no-gi style evolves quicker, twice as fast. Especially, the way we do it at 10th Planet, I am not just the one conveying the knowledge. All my students are involved.
I get everybody in the association, all my schools, world wide. We all work together hunting for the best techniques. Everyone is doing some research and development on some part of the game.
Whether it’s a Brazilian guy or an American guy or some guy from Sweden, there is no way one guy can go through a path so much where he’s coming up with all the nooks and crannies and all the tweaks and all the new innovations.
There’s no way you have enough time. You’d have to roll eight hours a day, so, the way we’re doing it here is everyone is pitching in. Everyone is doing their work. Everyone is bringing a sweep. Um, one of my students, Compella, just got swept a couple times with this new Baja Gracie no-gi sweep, and um, he did it clean on him twice.
So, his job was to study the video, master the sweep and then bring it into class and teach us all, and we’ve been working on that one a lot. So, that’s the attitude we have here is everybody is contributing. Everybody is doing their own research and development.
A lot of times I’ll show someone a technique I got really good with, but I didn’t put all the hours in. I didn’t do the research and development. I didn’t take it to the next level.
Then they’ll come back with it and…this guy will have 100 percent, this guy will go gogoplata to death, this guy will do prison guard to death.
Then they’ll come back and add some new tweaks and add some new braches to the tree and it’s just a lot quicker that way. You know, so, that’s how we do it here.
Erik Fontanez: Eddie Bravo, thank you very much.
Eddie Bravo: Thank you.
A classy guy, Eddie Bravo. Open to a good conversation about the world’s fastest growing sport and his own specialty.
Try to watch out for the adventures of him and his little buddy Royce on Twitter, as he confirmed the two of them will be making some noise in Memphis this weekend. Too funny to not give any attention to.