Royce Gracie (file photo) wants another shot at Matt Hughes. | Sherdog.com
UFC President Dana White has confirmed rumors that UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie is pressing for a rematch with fellow Octagon legend Matt Hughes at UFC 134 in Rio de Janeiro.
“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,” White told a group of reporters following Wednesday’s UFC 129 press conference. “He wants that fight again.”
Gracie, who was present at the press conference in Toronto, was the original face of the UFC. Long before Zuffa’s buyout of the promotion, Gracie dominated the Octagon, winning three of the organization’s first four events, each of which required him to win either three or four fights in a single night.
After taking a hiatus from fighting following a 1995 draw with Ken Shamrock, Gracie returned to the ring in 2000 to compete for the now-defunct Pride Fighting Championships. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu practitioner made his Octagon return in 2006, squaring off with Hughes at UFC 60. Gracie was dominated in the bout, as Hughes used superior grappling to secure Gracie’s back and finish the fight with punches.
While Gracie’s possible retirement fight at UFC ‘Rio’ has been the subject of some controversy, White asserts that he’s still indecisive about allowing the 44-year-old back into the cage for one more go-around.
“Who am I to say?” asked White. “There’s times when I step in -- for instance, like Chuck Liddell -- and I say, ‘Chuck, I think you should retire.’ Do I think Royce Gracie [should fight again]? I don’t know. He didn’t look too damn good against Matt the first time.”
UFC 134 goes down Aug. 27 at Rio de Janeiro’s HSBC Arena and will feature a gaggle of Brazilian stars, including UFC middleweight champion Anderson Silva, who defends his strap against Yushin Okami.