Rickson Gracie is a BJJ legend and he’s undoubtedly had some difficult sparring sessions in his time, but he actually said that the elite wrestler Mark Schultz was the toughest roll he ever had. It’s hardly surprising either, seeing as Schultz was one of the most successful competitors in wrestling history. He won three NCAA championships, two world championships, and a gold medal at the Olympics throughout the course of his career. He even fought in professional MMA at one point in time too, having his one and only fight at UFC 9 where he came in on incredibly short notice and defeated Gary Goodridge.
Of course, Rickson Gracie was an MMA veteran himself and had fought in numerous grappling matches under a wide variety of different rulesets. He was asked who his toughest roll ever was, and there was only name on his mind:
“I trained with so many guys you know? So many tough guys, and if I had to pick one right out of my mind here? Because I’m not talking about skill in Jiu-Jitsu fighters, I’m talking about a tough guy who’s just… from point one I felt like he was a nightmare to deal with. It’s Mark Schultz. He’s an Olympic wrestler which I had the experience to engage with, and it was a great meeting. He’s a very tough guy you know, and even though I could make some Jiu-Jitsu moves on him, I felt like my life was on a string. So, I have a lot of respect for him.”
It might seem unusual to think that Rickson Gracie would cross paths with Mark Schultz, but he explained how that came to be:
“He didn’t know Jiu-Jitsu and I went in Utah and I was visiting the BYU university, and he was teaching there. We trained, it was a tough training but Jiu-Jitsu prevailed.”
The interview with Rickson Gracie where he names Mark Schultz as the toughest roll he ever had was uploaded to the official YouTube channel of Rickson Academy: