Robert Drysdale: Breaking Down Roger Gracie

robert drysdale roger gracie
Robert Drysdale’s gi is ripped by Roger Gracie at the 2007 BJJ Mundials.

Back in episode 105 of The FightWorks Podcast, we spoke with Robert Drysdale, who submitted Marcelo Garcia at the 2007 ADCCs and came in second place at the 2007 BJJ Mundials behind London-based Roger Gracie.

After the interview which appeared in episode 105 ended, FightWorks Podcast cohost Dan informally asked what it was that made Roger Gracie such a tough opponent. Here’s what Drysdale had to say!

It’s not the fact that he is that tall, it’s that no one is used to going against someone that tall. You can’t just blame it on the fact that he’s tall though, the guy is incredible. He is very, very tight, especially when he is on top. You’ll see guys like Jacare, Margarida, or Xande beating him or coming very close to beating him, and those were basically judo matches. That’s why they were very close to beating him. I’m not the best guard player in the world, but I consider my guard to be above average. But it is very hard to play the guard with him. Look at his match against Romulo Barral in the finals of the open division. Romulo’s got one of the best guards in Brazilian jiu-jitsu, and Roger just walked through it. After watching that match it confirmed to me that it is just very hard to play guard with Roger. He is just so tight and so long that when you try to sweep him his base is everywhere. He spreads his weight so well he is hard to move.

He is also incredibly strong. I don’t know if you guys saw this in the finals of 2007 but he ripped my gi. He just ripped my sleeve apart. That was a brand new gi that I had never worn before! That’s not normal! That’s not normal, I don’t care what people say. I have never seen that happen in my life. When he did that I was like, “Holy, &*#!” He was pulling against my sleeve, and I had my hand on his collar with a pretty good grip, and he kept pulling. I thought to myself, “You’re crazy, you’re never going to get my arm out of there”. It was stuck on his collar and it wasn’t going to move. And he kept pulling until he ripped my gi. I have never seen that before. That’s amazing when you think about it. How many people can do that? It’s not like it’s used or anything, it was brand new. The guy is incredibly strong. It may not look like it, but he’s a freak.

But it’s not just that. He knows how to spread his weight, he knows his thing. I still see weaknesses in his game, but it’s hard to get to those positions so you can explore them. I think mentally he’s very prepared, physically very prepared, technically very prepared. He’s on a path where he wants to become the next Rickson Gracie. That’s what he works for. That’s why he has no sponsors, he doesn’t talk much, he’s that quiet guy. The “I’m the samurai” kind of thing. He’s a smart kid and I think he’s going to be the next Rickson. He’s incredible. I’ve got no excuses for losing to him. I still think he’s human, that I can beat him. I think that there are a lot of guys out there that can beat him. But I think that right now he’s the toughest guy with the gi. With the gi I can’t think of anyone better than him right now.

This weekend Roger Gracie will fight in MMA for the second time as he takes on Yuki Kondo at Sengoku II. The FightWorks Podcast has learned from sources in London that Roger will be competing at the 2008 BJJ Mundials on June 7th and 8th, just weeks after his MMA fight!

4 Replies to “Robert Drysdale: Breaking Down Roger Gracie”

  1. roger gracie is indoubtably the best heavyweight in ju jitsu today! hands down the only way to beat him is to stall just like jacare did. he went up on points and stalled. jacare pulled a marc laimon on roger. roger just signed with strikeforce. i give roger 2 fights until he takes overeem’s title. i’ll put any type of money on it. any takers e-mail me at

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