MMA legend Royce Gracie would like another chance against the only fighter he has faced and never defeated in his fighting career, Matt Hughes. UFC President Dana White discussed Gracie’s desire to fight Matt Hughes while speaking to reporters at a UFC 129 press conference.
Earlier reports indicated Gracie was trying to work out a fight contract for UFC 134, scheduled for August 27 in Rio de Janeiro. Now, White’s words indicate Hughes is the MMA fighter Gracie would like to face in his hometown. White told reporters,
“I’ll tell you straight up: [Gracie] thinks that his performance against Matt Hughes wasn’t what it could have been and thinks he can beat Matt Hughes. He wants that fight again.”
Both men initially met at UFC 60, during the peak of Matt Hughes dominant reign in the UFC’s welterweight division. Royce who was on an 11 year break from the UFC, came back to fight Matt Hughes in a catch-weight MMA match.
Royce, who was already 39 years old at the time, struggled against the younger, stronger Hughes. Hughes dominated Royce Gracie the entire fight, coming close to finishing the MMA legend with a submission. Hughes eventually secured Gracie’s back, and finished him off with a barrage of punches.
Gracie’s chances against Hughes are actually better than they were when the two men met in 2006. Time has caught up with Hughes as well, evening the playing field between the two MMA fighters. In terms of technical grappling skills, I have to give Royce the advantage. Hughes is a better striker, but his ego might tempt him into going to the ground with the MMA legend. If he does, he’ll have a harder time controlling Gracie this time around.
While I think Gracie’s chances against Hughes are better this time around, I can’t say I’m thrilled about the possibility of the matchup. Personally, I would rather see him go against another early legend of the sport. A rubber match with Kazushi Sakuraba or something else along those lines would be better for Gracie. A match against Hughes who has been going around beating up Gracie trained MMA fighters, is not the best matchup for the 44 year old BJJ expert.
Ironically MMA fighter BJ Penn, who was had a turbulent relationship with Brazilian Jiu Jitsu’s royal family in the past, is the only Gracie trained fighter that’s has dominated his encounters with Matt Hughes.