As MMA and especially the UFC continue to grow in popularity around the world, Royce Gracie’s legacy automatically grows with it. A winner of three of the first four UFC tournaments back in the 90’s, the Brazilian, who is now 50 years old, was the sport’s first star, a status that guarantees him the support of the MMA community whenever and whereever he wants to return to the cage. And a return to the cage seems to be back on his radar.
Matt Hughes, a fellow UFC legend who knocked him out in 2006, stated recently that he might return to competition. Quickly becoming a place for nostalgic fights, Bellator might just be where this bout ends up after Gracie returned to action there in February 2016 against Ken Shamrock.
“(Bellator) still hasn’t talked to me about it”, Gracie told AG. Fight. “I don’t know if Hughes signed with them. I was with them this weekend and Hughes was there, too… Nobody told me anything, but I’m a fighter. I’m trying to stop, but it’s difficult… It would be a good fight, no doubt, and of course I’m open to it. It would be a fight that the fans want to see.”
Ensuring that he was always in shape even with a demanding travel schedule, Gracie said that it would take him three months to get ready for another fight. Even if the rules have changed since Gracie took on heavier guys without time limit back in 1993.
“[…] I never asked for special rules”, Gracie said. “In Japan, I asked for no time limit because I didn’t have the weight (that my opponent had). So, struggling with a guy who weighs more than 200 pounds, I gave up the weight and he gave up the time (limit). I don’t need a certain round or glove size, that doesn’t exist, and my fight with Ken Shamrock was with equal rules for both of us.”
For that reason, Gracie doesn’t think too much of the ‘Legend’s League’ that Vitor Belfort recently brought up in an interview with Ag. Fight. The idea behind it would be to schedule fights between aging veterans of the sport who can no longer compete at the same level as fighters who are currently in their prime. However, certain rule changes would likely be made for that idea to become a reality – a scenario that was quickly dismissed by Gracie.
“There are fights that are between guys that don’t compete for (a spot in) the rankings, they are fighting because they bring in the audience, and the audience would like to see them. I don’t see why I would want to change the rules. My fight with Ken Shamrock was like that, the rules weren’t changed and there is no reason to change (them). Wanderlei (Silva) against (Chael) Sonnen, for example, a fight that the fans want to see. The crowd likes it.”
Also, there are news on the other end of the age spectrum, as Gracie revealed that one of his sons will follow his path into the cage and compete in MMA.
At age 20, purple belt Kheydon Gracie is the only one of Royce’s four children who chose to follow into the footsteps of their father and represent the family name in MMA. However, Gracie insisted that there is no pressure as far as ‘when’ is concerned, as the MMA legend himself insisted that the time isn’t yet right for a fight.
“I’ve got one child that wants to fight. Kheydon is going to do it, but he’s still very young. He’s a purple belt, he’s 20 (years old). He wants to fight, but we’re only going to cross that bridge when we get there. But when the time comes, it’s going to be cool.”