BJJ black belt Royce Gracie will return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship after eleven years away from the famed Octagonal cage. The meeting, which takes place on May 27, at UFC 60 against current welterweight champion Matt Hughes promises to be a difficult battle. The experienced Hughes has fought over 40 times and has defeated 38 opponents including such names as: Joe Riggs, Frank Trigg, Renato Verissimo, and Carlos Newton among others. On the other hand, Royce Gracie has the support of his young brother Royler Gracie...
BJJ black belt Royce Gracie will return to the Ultimate Fighting Championship after eleven years away from the famed Octagonal cage. The meeting, which takes place on May 27, at UFC 60 against current welterweight champion Matt Hughes promises to be a difficult battle. The experienced Hughes has fought over 40 times and has defeated 38 opponents including such names as: Joe Riggs, Frank Trigg, Renato Verissimo, and Carlos Newton among others. On the other hand, Royce Gracie has the support of his young brother Royler Gracie, an experienced grappler, who has won 4 BJJ Worlds titles and 3 at Abu Dhabi. As important as those titles are, Royler Gracie has also fought some tough fighters under Vale-Tudo rules such as Norifumi Kid Yamamoto and Genki Sudo. MMA Ring report spoke with Royler Gracie and he told us how Royce is preparing for this challenge and much more.
MMA Ring Report - Tell me how is Royces preparation for his fight with Matt Hughs?
Royler Gracie - His preparation is great. We have been practicing a lot and we are very confident Royce will do a great job on May 27 in the octagon. It will be a great return and he will win!
MMA Ring Report - Is it true you, Renzo and your brother Rickson Gracie are training together and helping Royce to get ready for this fight? How is training together after so much time apart?
Royler Gracie - To be honest with you, the family never fell apart. Even if we are far away we keep discussing and arguing about everything, especially fighting. Right now, Renzo and Rickson Gracie are not here physically, but they are psychologically, because we have been training a few moves they use to do on the mat and in the ring.
MMA Ring Report - What do you expect with this bout from your big brother?
Royler Gracie - Well, Matt Hughes is such a tough opponent. He is the current Welterweight champion and we do believe it will be a hard fight, but I have to tell you Royce is very confident and in a very good condition. I mean: physically and psychologically, I am sure he will be 100% ready in the day of the fight.
MMA Ring Report - Royce is a living legend of the Ultimate Fighting Championship. Whats his motivation to return to the octagon?
Royler Gracie - His motivation is the best it can be, and I know him and I can tell you he is very motivated to fight Hughes. He is enjoying this situation of being 11 years away from the UFC (Royces last bout was at UFC 5, when drew with Ken Shamrock) and he is trating this challenge as a good test and he likes being tested!
MMA Ring Report - There are rumors that Rickson would be training to fight Sakuraba soon, is it true?
Royler Gracie - To be honest with you, I dont know anything about this rumor of Rickson fighting Sakuraba. In the last time I talked to him he told me he wanted to fight badly, but I dont know any further information. I dont know if he reached a deal with some international organization. But it would be great to see him in action one more time...
MMA Ring Report - And you? When are we going to see Royler Gracie in action again?
Royler Gracie - Well... I should be fighting next August, at K-1 Heros. I havent signed yet and I dont know my opponent
MMA Ring Report - You fought at Heros GP last year by Alexandre Pequeno side. Now, there are two other Brazilians in the competition: Rany Yahira and JZ Cavalcanti. Who do you believe will reach the finals?
Royler Gracie - At Heros GP I will root for the Brazilians of course, but I hope Rany Yahira becomes the champion. He trained with Rickson Gracie for a season and I am sure he will apply his lessons for real at the ring. I will bet my money on him! (laughs)
MMA Ring Report - And about Pride GP Open Weight? Who is your favorite one?
Royler Gracie - Of course I will root for Brazilians
Fabricio Werdum did an excellent fight, but I still believe in Rodrigo Minotauro. He is my favorite one to rock the tournament!