ThatMMAGuy got the chance to sit down with grappling sensation Braulio Estima to talk about his recent signing with Shine Fights, his stand up game and his 1st MMA fight against accomplished grappler Rick Hawn.
Ryan Justason: What made you decide to pursue mixed martial arts?
Braulio Estima: I love to challenge myself, as I did well in my BJJ career, both with gi and without gi. I felt ready to represent my art in MMA, and I feel the reponsibility to represent my [BJJ] army.
RJ: You signed a four-fight deal with Shine Fights. Were you approached by Shine to fight or was it something you sought out?
Braulio Estima: I was training at the Renzo Gracie academy during a seminar tour of North America and I met Ali [Abdel Aziz], Renzo’s and Rolles [Gracie] manager, and he got in touch with Shine Fights. They liked my style and we made a deal.
RJ: Your opponent Rick Hawn is also an accomplished grappler. Can you tell us about Rick?
Braulio Estima: Rick is a great athelete. He has been to the Olympics, which is not for everone. He is a three-time [judo] champion, and a Pan-Am Games medalist. He’s also a very good striker, and 6-0 in MMA. I can only expect tough things from this fight.
RJ: Being known as a grappler, how is your standup game?
Braulio Estima: It’s a progress of development (laughs). Hopefully I will have a jab by the [day of the] fight (laughs).
RJ: You own the Gracie Barra gym with your brother Victor in Birmingham, England. Can you tell us what your gym offers?
Braulio Estima: We are a full-time BJJ academy. We focus on gi and no-gi training, and we also have kids programs. We build a foundation, teach the basics and advanced training. It’s a great family environment. Check out http://www.graciebarrabirmingham.com for more info.
RJ: What can we expect on May 15th in Fayetteville, North Carolina at the Shine Fights pay-per-view?
Braulio Estima: A great show where I will do my best to start my MMA career with the victory. I’ve been training hard for that; there is no day that I’m not sore. I’m in pieces right now (laughs), but on the way to train [again] (laughs).