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Gracie sits down for a Q&A before the big UFCfight

Royce Gracie vs. AkebonoHe's training around-the-clock to successfully defend his undefeated record in the Octagon against Matt Hughes for "UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie."

Despite the herculean task before him after an 11-year layoff from the Ultimate Fighting Championship -- going against the most talented and dominant welterweight champion ever in Matt Hughes -- Royce took some time out of his busy schedule to sit down with Newsday to talk about the upcoming bout.

Here are a few good snips from the article today:

Q: How have you prepared for Hughes? Is it like any other fight for you?

A: It's more of a strategy. The weight is the same, the cardio is the same, but the grappling and the standup I will work specifically for him. It's a strategy, it's a game; it's going to come down to who makes the first mistake.

Q: Do you think the long layoff from UFC has hurt you?

A: I don't think it will hurt me, I'm still active in Japan. Just because I haven't fought in the cage, I've been in the ring, I'm still fighting in front of crowds of 95,000 people. Just because I've been away from the UFC doesn't mean I've been away from fighting. I fought a guy a couple of years ago who was 6-8, 490 pounds.

Q:Hughes is known for his slams and wrestling skills, how will you defend that?

A: I'm not thinking about staying up. If we get in a clinch, I'm either going to take him down or he's going to take me down. But I'm not giving him a chance to lock his hands and pick me up. I'm either going to pull guard or I'm going to do a takedown on him.

Good luck on Saturday, Royce. You're gonna need it.