Royce Gracie is definitely not giving up on his campaign to fight at UFC 134 in Rio de Janiero later this summer. On last Friday’s edition of Inside MMA, Royce said he has plans to talk to UFC brass about it in Toronto at UFC 129. When asked if he feels a sense of entitlement to fight on the card given his past accomplishments and rich history with the organization, Gracie replied:
“In one way or the other. Either in the ring or outside the ring, if it wasn’t for my father (Helio Gracie), we wouldn’t be here today. He’s the man that started the whole thing. [The UFC’s] coming back to Brazil for the first in 12 years, so it’s a home advantage if I fight over there. It’s family.”
Considering Royce Gracie’s history with the UFC, it’s probably pretty difficult to say no to him, but he is 44 years old and the sport has evolved tenfold since he was relevant. Actually that was already the case five years ago, an eternity in MMA years, when Matt Hughes completely outclassed Gracie at UFC 60. Who could he possibly fight?
Well, welcome back to the 90’s because two of Gracie’s former foes from the NHB days of the UFC, Art Jimmerson and Dan Severn, are throwing their names into the hat.
Jimmerson, who’s now employed by a UFC Gym actually, told Full Mount MMA he’s a much different fighter than he was 17 years ago, and he wouldn’t let Gracie dictate the fight this time.
“Now, I am a totally different fighter from 16 years ago! You can’t be around Water and don’t get WET! Yes, I’ve learned so much more about MMA since I’ve been working there!”
“I will DEFINITELY BE MORE AGGRESSIVE! I WILL THROW MORE PUNCHES AND FIGHT MY FIGHT! Royce will not dictate this one! I will not allow him to take me to the GROUND!”
Meanwhile, Dan Severn, who actually recorded his 99th professional victory this past weekend, had his management issue a statement declaring his interest in the fight.
“In light of Royce publicly announcing his intent to take part in a UFC event in Brazil, Dan Severn is, officially, throwing out the challenge to Royce Gracie. Wanting to take it to the cage, one last time, in an all-out ground war – two legends of the octagon can thrill and amaze the UFC audience of yesterday and today, one last time.”
That’s all well and good, but Royce says he only has one opponent in mind. Despite Kenny Rice’s best attempts, Gracie wouldn’t outright say who it is, but he strongly hinted that it’s Matt Hughes when the MMA Junkie poll results were revealed. Much to Gracie’s chagrin, only 14% wanted to see a Hughes rematch while a merciless 39% wanted to see Gracie get murdered at the hands of BJ Penn.
I find all of this completely unnecessary, but if Royce is going to do this one last time, who do you want to him fight? Matt Hughes? Art Jimmerson? Dan Severn? Ken Shamrock? BJ Penn? Jon Fitch? Matt Serra? Other?
Fights that have been confirmed/announced by the UFC include Anderson Silva vs. Yushin Okami, Shogun Rua vs. Forrest Griffin II, Spencer Fisher vs. Thiago Tavares and Stanislav Nedkov vs. Luiz Cane.
Update: Dana White has informed MMA Fighting that they have no interest in signing Royce Gracie to fight at UFC 134.