Increasing Speculation That He Will Fight at UFC Rio: Royce Gracie Reportedly Pulls Out of UK Seminar Tour to Focus on Training for Fight in August

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Rabi
3/28/11 2:15:59PM
CagePotato.com received word over the weekend from a source close to the situation that Royce Gracie has cancelled the European leg of his spring seminar tour and that the official reason given to the group organizing his UK appearances (NJM promotions) is that the UFC Hall-of-Famer has accepted an offer from the promotion to fight on its August 27 card in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

According to NJM, Gracie’s manager, Mike Kogan revealed the news to them, which was relayed to the seminar host gyms in an effort to explain why the 44-year-old UFC 1, 2 and 4 tournament winner would not be able to make his scheduled appearances in England.

When contacted by us today via email to ask if Royce has indeed signed on to fight on the card, and if so, whom he will face, Kogan did not deny the stated reason for his client pulling out of his European tour, but said that nothing is official YET.

“We are talking about fighting in August,” Kogan confirmed. “Nothing is locked down, no.”

No potential opponents have been named for his possible return to the Octagon, but a few names come that with pre-built story lines would make sense.

Following his UFC 60 loss to Matt Hughes in 2006, Gracie expressed his desire to rematch the former UFC welterweight champ, explaining that he overtrained for the bout and didn’t perform as expected as a result, so a rematch would make sense, but there are at least two other opponents that would make sense, especially for a card set in Brazil.

With BJ Penn’s past history with Royce’s cousins Ralph, who calls “The Prodigy” a traitor for leaving him to train at Nova Uniao before calling out his brother Renzo for a 2005 K-1 bout, that’s another grudge match that wouldn’t take much marketing to sell. A third possible scenario would see the UFC sign Kazushi Sakuraba to face Gracie in a heavily-anticipated rubber match. In their last fight — a June 2007 Dynamite!! USA bout in California, Royce defeated “The Gracie Killer” by unanimous decision, but subsequently tested positive for the anabolic steroid Nandralone. He has disputed the test results for the past four years, claiming that the accusation that he uses PEDs is preposterous as he weighs just two pounds more than he did when he made his UFC debut in 1993. Sakuraba defeated Royce in 2000 by TKO and has beaten Royler, Renzo and Ryan Gracie, which is how he earned his nickname.

Considering that the show is nearly five months away and that there are a number of other suitable opponents from Dan Hardy to Mike Swick whose stock in the Octagon would benefit from a fight with a legend like Gracie, it’s likely that we won’t know until April or May if and whom Royce will fight on the card.

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prozacnation1978
3/28/11 3:59:55PM
Would be nice to see gracie fight
But against who???

Two names I got is lytle or sanchez
cowcatcher
3/28/11 4:03:11PM
Saku is the guy I want to see him fight. Saku wouldn't be at risk of suffering brain damage and it would be a 1 and done for both of them so it wouldn't be a fight aimed at trying to build up someone already on the roster because they beat Royce. It won't happen, but that's what I would like to see.
mrsmiley
3/28/11 9:42:17PM
Saku would be a good fight. If the weight difference wasn't such an issue I wouldn't mind seeing a second fight with Ken either. In a recent Sherdog interview Jason Delucia showed interest in a third fight with Royce,which I don't feel would be as appealing as a third with Saku or a second with Ken yet still has an appeal to it.
To me,a fight with BJ would be overly lame. Royce has next to no chance of winning and at the same time BJ would gain nothing from the fight either.

A second fight with Hughes would go pretty much the same as the first I think. Seeing Royce come out for one more showdown is proper,especially for a card in brazil but it has to be against the right opponent and as of now the one the makes the most since is Saku.
lohmann
3/29/11 12:16:56AM
The UFC will probably put him in a fight with another aged legend. Sakuraba for the rubber match and Renzo Gracie in a duel between two members of MMA's most prestigious family are obvious candidates.

Anybody on the UFC's roster right now would beat Royce Gracie badly.

I still have my doubts on Gracie fighting again in the UFC, and I think he's just a victim of wishful thinking at the moment.
FlashyG
3/29/11 1:44:23AM
I guess with weight classes now its out of the question but Dan Severn (if he wins next month) would be an interesting match-up.

He'd have a 10 fight winning streak and 99 total wins coming into the fight looking for revenge to his UFC 4 loss.

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