How good is Royce Gracie?
Royce's own father has said in numerous articles that Rickson (Royce's brother) is more aggressive, physically stronger and a better all around fighter. I'm sure only they know. I still cannot figure out why people talk bad about Royce from time to time. His father is notably upset with him over the way Royce has 'Americanized' Gracie Jujitsu and I certainly wont be the one to get in the middle of a family dispute on who's right or wrong.
I do not think that Royce Gracie is the best fighter in the world, my personal belief is that the most talented cream of the crop fighters probably never step in the ring becasue martial arts just mean something different to them. I have had the pleasure of seeing Royce fight live on 2 occasions, UFC 1 and 2 in Denver, Colorado. Keep in mind that the UFC has 2 rules back then, no eye gouging and no 'repeated' kicks to the groin. (once or twice, sure that's fine just don't repeat it!) Back then there were also no weight classes, no rounds, no time limit and the ref did not ever stand you up. In my limited knowledge of Gracie Jujitsu I believe he has an incredible grasp of the discipline and art. It is truly amazing to watch him constrict his body around someone with such precision and make them submit. Although he beat Akebono incredibly fast that isn't his normal style. In what I think was Royce's most impressive performance he faced Kimo who at the time was 6 ft 5 (still is) and weighed in at 285 (if I remember correct, he now fights around 245). Kimo is by no means fat, even at 270-285 he is in incredible shape. Having seen Gracie fight on a couple of occasions I still thought he would have absolutely no chance giving up that much weight. It took Royce around 5 minutes to get Kimo to the ground (the ground is where Gracie will fight all his fights, at 179 you don't want to go toe to toe with people 285 and packed with muscle) and about 40 minutes to constrict and move and twist his entire body around Kimo's head to choke him out.
I have not studied Gracie/Brazilian Jujitsu, I have a book but that means squat! I have however studied Wing Chun, Hakuryo Jujitsu and Muay Thai so I do have some concept of what he is doing. I think he is an incredible fighter, he's not cocky, he doesn't talk smack, call people names, he just wins fights, over and over again he wins fights. I think he opitimizes what martial artists should strive to be. He's good at his craft, he's incredibly disciplined and a class act to witness.