Kron Gracie’s performance at UFC 288 left a lot of fans and analysts scratching their heads. Despite being a world-class Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner, Gracie returned to MMA after a four-year hiatus and appeared entirely underprepared. His lackluster showing against Charles Jourdain, during which he barely struck or engaged in significant grappling exchanges, resulted in a unanimous decision loss.
Even UFC President Dana White remarked on how outdated Gracie’s performance looked, saying that it was reminiscent of fights from the mid-90s. Many believe that there is a significant skill gap that Gracie must close before he can compete at the elite level in UFC.
Jouban believes that Gracie’s performance showcased his lack of versatility and that he is not a natural striker. In his opinion, Gracie needs to significantly improve his boxing skills and add more physical attributes to his fighting style if he wants to have a sustained career in the UFC.
Jouban also criticized Gracie for what he perceived as an over-reliance on his jiu-jitsu skills, which was not enough to win the fight. During the fight, Gracie repeatedly attempted to pull Jourdain into grappling exchanges, but he never seriously threatened with submissions from his back.
Jouban believes that this lack of aggression and an inability to execute successful takedowns with strikes might harm Gracie’s future prospects in the UFC. Jouban also remarked on Gracie’s tendency to perform “butt-scooting” movements, which he views as a distinctly outdated tactic in the contemporary MMA style.
Despite Gracie’s shortcomings, Jouban believes that there is room for him to grow as a fighter. He suggests that Gracie could compete against fellow Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner Ryan Hall, which could showcase their respective grappling skills and make for an entertaining fight.
Nevertheless, Jouban notes that this might be the last chance for Gracie to prove himself in UFC, and he needs to evolve his style significantly.