As reported, Dana White took the podium at a press conference in Rio de Janeiro this past week to discuss the UFC heading back to Brazil after a thirteen-year absence from the South American hub. However, while the UFC President was flanked by a number of fighters calling the Octagon home, one man stood out from the rest both in terms of the current status of his career and historical impact on the sport – Royce Gracie.
Gracie may not presently match the divisional greatness of promotional champs Anderson Silva, Jose Also, or Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, but there’s no questioning the influence he (and his family) have had on the UFC let alone Mixed Martial Arts as a whole. And, though the 44-year old Brazilian hasn’t fought since June 2007, it appears the Octagon’s return to Rio may be enough to bring him out of retirement for one last bout if the company will have him back.
According to a conversation between Gracie and Tatame, the original UFC champion is “negotiating” a possible fight in August at the event.
“(MMA) is the sport that’s been growing more within the martial arts. It’s the symbol of the sport to the world. The first is soccer, but people like martial arts, Boxing, Taekwondo, Jiu-Jitsu, Wrestling… It’s what people like. It’s on our blood,” said submission-savvy icon.
Gracie holds an overall record of 14-3-3 with twelve of his wins coming by way of tap-out. He has only fought a single time in the UFC since introducing the viewing public to Gracie Jiu-Jitsu fifteen years ago, a TKO loss to Matt Hughes in May 2006. The stumble marked the first and only time Gracie has been finished inside the ring during his career with the pair of other defeats coming by way of corner-stoppage.