Royce Gracie's Blogs

  • ESPN MMA Hot Button: Who Should Hughes' Last Foe Be? By: Staff

    Every week inside's MMA section, two scribes debate the most pressing issues in the sport in the Hot Button.

    This week, Administrative Editor Jordan Breen and's Chuck Mindenhall debate what an appropriate retirement bout for welterweight legend Matt Hughes.

    Is a rematch with fellow icon Royce Gracie an appropriate swan song for Hughes, or should the longtime UFC welterweight champion get a chance to avenge his two early career losses to nemesis Dennis Hallman?

    Click here to read the latest ESPN MMA Hot Button.

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  • Sherdog Remembers: Hughes vs. Gracie By: Staff

    It was as if Matt Hughes was fighting an amateur. He did what he wanted when he wanted and how he wanted to do it, all to the man credited with pouring the foundation of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

    In less than five minutes at UFC 60, Hughes shattered what remained of the mystique surrounding hall of famer Royce Gracie, has he beat the Brazilian at his own game at the Staples Center in Los Angeles. In doing so, Hughes showed the world just how far the modern-day mixed martial artist had progressed. Despite the hopes of his loyal supporters, Gracie could not turn back the clock. The corvette sped right past the Model-T.

    Hughes pawed at Gracie with strikes before the two clinched along the cage. A takedown followed, and Hughes controlled his opponent from side control. Gracie tried to free himself from bottom position, the very place from which he had built much of his legend. Hughes did not relent, trapping Gracie’s arm in a kimura and threatening the submission master with a taste of his own medicine. Alas, Hughes released the hold and transitioned to back mount when Gracie flipped to his stomach. Unanswered blows to Gracie’s head forced the stoppage, as Hughes unleashed a punishing stream of fists for the finish.

    Never before had someone so thoroughly controlled and dominated Gracie, who entered the cage seven months shy of his 40th birthday. It marked his first appearance inside the Octagon since his rematch with Ken Shamrock ended in a draw at UFC 5. Gracie has not fought for the UFC since.

    In the five years that have passed since the Hughes-Gracie encounter, Hughes has experienced his own decline, as diminished skills and age have taken their nature toll on a once-dominant champion. Young lions have risen and surpassed him, as evidenced by one-sided losses to Thiago Alves and Georges St. Pierre (twice).

    Still, Hughes’ flawless performance against Gracie remains an historical piece of the MMA fabric, and it took place on this day five years ago.

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  • Gracie’s Nostalgia Trip By: Jake Rossen

    When the UFC held a press conference in Rio de Janeiro last week to announce only their second show there in 12 years, Royce Gracie appeared and told gathered media that a slot for him in the August event was being “negotiated.”

    Assuming that Gracie won’t tie his belt for less than seven figures, and knowing that the UFC brand is no longer in need of promotional stunt work, it’s probably more likely that any Gracie on that card would be Renzo. But assuming the 44-year-old -- who won three UFC tournaments in 1993 and 1994 and probably holds the single biggest influence on groundfighting in martial arts history -- does fight, upper management has to know that no one wants to see a repeat of the Matt Hughes tragedy in 2006. (A cross-trained younger athlete beats an older, one-dimensional one: you could’ve filed that story two months before it happened.)

    Odds on some possibilities that would actually mean an intriguing fight:

    Ken Shamrock (10-1) Good story, terrible fight: Shamrock’s may be so scorched he probably can’t shoot a takedown, which would mean Royce would try and drag him down in his guard.

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  • The Kick and the ‘Oh, [Expletive]’ Factor By: Jake Rossen

    Pat Smith file photo | Peter Lockley/

    I have a distinct memory of the first time my jaw went slack watching a mixed martial arts fight. I was 16, give or take a year, and a trip to the video store -- which has long since been paved over -- had netted a desperation rental of UFC 2. I do not recall what the motivation was to pick it up, but when you’re a teenager, ad copy that promises “the bloodiest, most barbaric show in history” is probably reason enough.

    That was the event where Royce Gracie won the promotion’s first and only 16-man tournament. While that was obviously impressive, and watching a slightly-built man in a gi control more intimidating opponents had its intended effect, it was another bout that might have done more for the UFC’s popularity at the time: Patrick Smith against “Ninja” Scott Morris, with Smith pounding Morris until his mouthpiece popped out and blood began shooting out of his face like a sprinkler. Morris had no concept of the mount, had no idea how to escape, and wound up shattering his face. It was so severe that Smith himself stopped attacking, having an innate sense that he’d better quit before someone went on trial.

    It was terrible. And we watched it over and over again.

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  • Royce Gracie Reflects on Pride GP 2000 By: Greg Savage

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  • The Most Influential UFC Fights I (of V) By: Jake Rossen

    All this week: recapping the key UFC bouts that changed perception or behavior in or around the Octagon. (Part one, with the first half of the top 10, can be viewed here.)

    Royce Gracie vs. Matt Hughes (UFC 60, May 27, 2006)

    If you’re inclined to gauge how much the sport of mixed martial arts evolved during Royce Gracie’s 11-year absence from the UFC, you can either A). Spend hours poring over fight footage or B). Take five minutes to watch his fight with Matt Hughes.

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