Prior to UFC 100, SI.com had the chance to speak with many of the promotion's elite fighters -- past and present. Here's what Royce Gracie had to say about Saturday's card, his career in the cage and much more.
One-hundred is a big number, it's a successful number, sounds like an important number. So I am glad that I can say I was there for No. 1, and now I can come see No. 100.
UFC 100 means that, in 1993 ,when my family started the UFC and had a vision, it was a correct one. It means that Dana White and Frank and LorenzoFertitta are very good businessmen and have done an incredible job of getting the UFC where it is today and continuing to grow it. And, of course, none of this is possible without fans, so it means that the fans are there and have been for the last 16 years and have been supporting the sport, and that's great. I hope that I had a little part in bringing the fans to the UFC and keeping them excited to watch it again.
I knew that once people saw the UFC, they would fall in love with it.
I was invited by Dana to come to the event. I am in Europe now with my family on vacation until August, but I could not say no, so I am leaving this Thursday from Israel.
Am I rooting for anyone? Of course. But let's just keep that a secret.
To say that I follow every card would be a lie, but this one is filled with great fights.
The UFC still has a long way to go. What Dana & Co. were able to do is capture a large enough fan base and make them UFC fans, similar to what pro-wrestling did before MMA. With that fan base, the UFC can turn a profit that they, in turn, re-invest into expanding that base. It sounds pretty simple, but it's not. So props to Zuffa.
The promotion's continued success depends on the ability to attract or find new fighting talent, and just time -- more time for people to be exposed to it and come to terms with it.
The best lesson I learned in MMA was Don't count your money, train hard and fight the best you can and the rest will come.
UFC 4 was special for me because I was able to show people myself as a fighter: Royce. By then, everyone know about jiu-jitsu and this and that. So it was just like OK, it's Royce fighting now. Also UFC 2 because I had to fight and defeat four opponents in one night, so that stands out for me.
To me, a fight is won in training, so when the fight comes I don't need to get pumped.
Rickson told me once, " In a perfect word, you would not be a fighter."