The vision of Matt Hughes pummeling cousin Royce Gracie at UFC 60 remains a vivid memory for Renzo Gracie.
Gracie told Jack Encarnacao on Friday’s Beatdown program that he’s embracing the opportunity to get his shot at family redemption this Saturday at UFC 112 “Invincible” in Abu Dhabi.
“You have to understand, my cousins and my brothers and my relatives; I can talk bad about them. I can hit them. But nobody else can do it,” said Gracie. “That’s the reality, because it drives me crazy.”
Hughes (43-7) will offer a stiff test for the Pride veteran, who will make his 170-pound debut in returning from a three-year hiatus. Gracie (13-6-1, 1 NC) stated that he does not expect the long layoff to affect his performance at UFC 112.
“I trained very hard and I dedicated the last six months to just training for Matt Hughes. I think I’m ready. I’m really looking forward to this fight,” said a confident Gracie. “It’s a great honor to fight him, he’s an unbelievable fighter. Very tough guy; he was one of the most dominant [welterweight fighters] out there.”
In Hughes, Gracie will look to defeat his fourth former UFC champion in a row. His last three bouts have been against Pat Miletich, Carlos Newton and Frank Shamrock, respectively.
Gracie last saw action in February 2007 in an EliteXC contest that ended suddenly when Shamrock landed an illegal knee to the head of the downed BJJ black belt. The fight was dominated by Gracie before the foul, and the Brazilian walked away the winner by DQ. The clash will be Hughes’ first since edging Matt Serra at UFC 98 last May.
“I can’t wait to test myself, especially after such a long [time] sitting on the couch [eating] potato chips,” laughed Gracie.