Former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes (43-7) may have finally locked in an opponent for his 2010 return as he will likely welcome jiu-jitsu legend Renzo Gracie (13-6-1) to the Octagon at the upcoming UFC 112 event in Abu Dhabi.
"Country Breakfast" on his return:
"I didn’t know if I could say anything about my next fight, but I see that Dana has let the cat out of the bag. So I can tell you what I know, on April 10th I will be fighting Renzo Gracie in Abu Dhabi. I haven’t signed any paperwork and I don’t think Renzo has either; but I think this fight is going to happen. That’s all I know, serious training will start for me at the new year."
Hughes was adamant about making one last run in the UFC 170-pound division — though he wasn't chomping at the bit to throw leather with up-and-coming stars like Josh Koscheck or Mike Swick, who did their best to call out the fighting farmhand.
Following his unanimous decision win over Matt Serra at UFC 98: "Evans vs. Machida," the future Hall of Famer signed a four-fight contract that will likely keep him in the Octagon for the remainder of his career.
While he may not compete long enough to satisfy all four fights, he has indicated that his only desire is to face opponents that he finds interesting, like his 2006 scrap against UFC pioneer Royce Gracie.
Maybe the win he holds over the famed Gracie grappler is what prompted Renzo to consider battling Hughes in his Octagon debut -- or perhaps it was Hughes looking for revenge after Gracie submitted longtime friend and mentor Pat Miletich at IFL: "Gracie vs. Miletich" -- also in 2006.
The son of Robson Gracie has competed both stateside and Internationally including eight times under the PRIDE banner, but never for the UFC. He hasn't seen action since a second round disqualification win over Frank Shamrock at Elite XC: "Destiny" back in February 2007.
While the 42-year-old Gracie is six years Hughes' elder, the contrast in styles could still result in an interesting match-up.
And that's exactly what Hughes has been asking for -- though it can be said that sometimes you should be careful what you wish for.
You just might get it.
Stay tuned to MMAmania.com for more information on UFC 112, which has yet to be officially announced by the promotion, as it develops.