I've made a few predictions in my MMA watching career. I picked Jon Jones to beat Shogun and to remain champion for a long time. I like my odds on this whole thing to come true. I've also made some terrible predictions in my time. I once said Dustin Hazelett is the fighter to watch at UFC 124 and well, that didn't turn out so well. But, it looks like I made another solid prediction. ROYCE IS COMING BACK!**
**These statements are a complete assumption on my part due to my pure excitement at the thought. We are still waiting for people to actually make it official.
I had heard that there were rumors circulating about the UFC card in Rio having Royce Gracie on it. It looks like we made another step in the right direction recently.
According to Cagepotato.com, Royce was scheduled to do some seminars in the UK during the spring leg of his seminar tour. The company responsible for scheduling the tour, NJM Promotions, has been informed by Gracie's manager that he will not be appearing in the UK in order to train for an upcoming fight in August. It just so happens that the UFC will be coming to Rio in late August.
Whenever Gracie's manager, Mike Kogan, was contacted regarding the issue, here's what he had to say:
"We are talking about fighting in August. Nothing is locked down, no."
Kogan did not deny that Gracie would be fighting on the card but simply stated that nothing is official yet.
If you're new to the UFC and MMA world, if somebody isn't denying something, it's probably a good sign that it's going to happen but they aren't allowed to say. When Dana was asked if Royce would fight for the UFC again, he responded "I don't think so".
So you can see that we are simply speculating here but it appears that both sides are open to talks. And since both sides are talking, we might as well put in our two cents on who he should fight.
At first, you hardcore fans are going to hate on the idea and call me every name in the book. I'm OK with that because this match-up must be made. Who should Royce Gracie fight at UFC: Rio? None other than James "Lights Out" Toney. I can already feel the loathing of that last statement. Let me try to explain.
The man is a Gracie
Whenever your family is responsible for building the entire sport, you deserve to fight on the card. Even if you're a 45 year old man. The Gracies will always have their name stamped on the sport and when the man who helped propel it to where it is says he can fight again, you let him do so. The Gracies have a big enough name here in the States but in Brazil, the Gracie name will most certainly attract huge numbers of attendees.
Style vs Style
The whole idea of the UFC was to prove which style was superior. We all learned very quickly that if you are only allowed one style in a street fight, you should probably pick jiu jitsu. This fight will help recapture those moments. Any interview with a Gracie will usually have the standard lines about how the sport was created to help the little guy beat a much bigger guy. Well, here's the chance to prove that "The Gracie Way" still works. Put him in the ring against a much heavier and younger opponent and prove it's effectiveness.
It's not an easy fight
We have the standard jiu jitsu vs. boxing matchup. This doesn't mean that Royce is guaranteed a win. Toney is an incredible boxer with great hands. If Royce stands to long or can't get him down, he is in a world of trouble. On the flip side, if Toney can't defend a take down..... I think we all remember what happened against Couture. If Royce loses, it's probably best it's from a punch. We don't need him to take another ground and pound beating like he did against Hughes.
It would be fun
Just admit it, it would be a lot of fun to watch. A flashback to the early days when you set two guys against each other who are skilled in completely different arenas. One guy can win with a single punch and the other just needs to get it to the ground. I can only imagine the kind of things Toney would say about Gracie. And Royce, no matter what age, isn't going to take it lying down. Who doesn't want to see the Gracie train make it's way to the octagon one more time? So let us know what you think.
Do you think Royce should just hang it up or is there a match up you want to see? C'mon, admit it, you want to see that fight now.