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One more fight: interview exclusive with UFC legend Royce Gracie

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Royce Gracie.

To hardcore and casual MMA fans alike, the name should be synonymous with dominance in the early days of UFC history. It's no secret that the Gracie clan used UFC events 1-4 as a promotional tool to demonstrate the effectiveness of Gracie jiu-jitsu against other forms of martial arts.

Royce steamrolled the competition, despite being the smallest man in nearly every tournament.

The legendary fighter won the single night tournaments at UFC 1, 2 and 4 which included big wins over Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn when they were in their physical prime.

Recently, the original Ultimate Fighter has been making some noise about fighting in the upcoming UFC 134 show in Brazil and he even followed Dana White to UFC 129 (like James Toney did) to try to speak with the UFC President about a fight.

The legendary grappler was a guest on The Verbal Submission this week and he spoke with about everything that's been going on in his life recently, including his dream of "one more fight" at UFC 134.

Take a look.

Brian Hemminger ( Let's get right to it Royce. You've been in the news a lot recently. It seems like a huge career resurgence. All these rumors going around. You were following Dana White around trying to get on this upcoming UFC Rio card in August, UFC 134. How much would it mean to you to get on one last UFC event?

Royce Gracie: I have one more fight, but it's a specific fight only. It's one special fight. If it was against anybody else, ehhhhh, not interested. Been there, done that. There's always a new, better opponent, a tougher opponent. I just want one fight. 

Brian Hemminger ( Is it Matt Hughes? I think I've read in interviews or some articles that it was Matt Hughes. Is that the guy?

Royce Gracie: Did I say it? I didn't say that. (laughs) I can't say who it is. Come on. But if you think about it, there's only one more. 

Brian Hemminger ( I've been going back and watching the old UFCs. It was so entertaining to watch you go in and clean house on these guys that had no idea what they were doing on the ground. It really opened a lot of eyes.

Royce Gracie: Actually, the UFC just put together a new DVD with all my fights, the Ultimate Royce Gracie. That's history right there. They put all the fights at the beginning, when there was no gloves, no time limits, no rules at all other than eye gouging and biting and no weight divisions. There was nothing. It was pretty much raw. The UFC just launched it a couple weeks ago with all my fights and backstage interviews. 

Brian Hemminger ( Did you actually get to have that meeting with Dana White? I know you were following him around at the UFC events.

Royce Gracie: We started to chat, we'd say "hi" to each other, we'd talk a little bit but no, we didn't sit down and talk about that. There was no time. There was too much going on at the Expo plus the UFC so Jake Shields and St. Pierre so it was very busy.

Brian Hemminger ( Any plans to have a meeting with him, at least to sit down with him?

Royce Gracie: That's what my manager does. I just sit down and wait for him to call me, "hey, get ready!" 

Brian Hemminger ( Once this news came out that you were wanting to fight on this UFC 134 card, all of these old legends started coming out of the woodworks. Everybody said they wanted to fight you on this card. I'm gonna go down a list of some of these guys and hope you can give your brief thoughts, almost like a word by association from Royce Gracie on what you think of these guys. Is that okay with you?

Royce Gracie: Sure.

Brian Hemminger ( The first one I heard that really wanted to fight you was Art Jimmerson, the first guy you ever fought in the UFC. What are your thoughts on Art Jimmerson, the one-glove boxer?

Royce Gracie: I think he wants to redeem himself for that, for wearing one glove. I win without giving one punch. I think he wants to take at least one punch (laughs).

Brian Hemminger ( What about the guy who made more news recently for the fact that people thought he died than anything else, Kimo Leopoldo?

Royce Gracie: Is he still alive? (laughs) I thought he died too. That was big news all over the place.

Brian Hemminger ( What about this guy, he's actually been really active. He's still fighting. He goes around to county fairs and takes on nobodies but he's still fighting at 52 years old, Dan "The Beast" Severn. A man you defeated at UFC 4 in the finals.

Royce Gracie: Dan is a grandpa now, come on. He definitely should stop fighting. Fighting at county fairs? Come on. He gave me his best shot back then and could not beat me and he got that stuck in his throat.

Brian Hemminger ( This guy is in desperate need of a paycheck. He said fighting you at UFC 134 would guarantee to be the biggest pay-per-view ever, Ken Shamrock.

Royce Gracie: Ken never won a tournament. He's gotta stop, man. I beat him in less than a minute at the first UFC.

Brian Hemminger ( Okay, these last two guys have built reputations as guys who can beat Gracies. The first is Sakaraba.

Royce Gracie: I already had my rematch with him. I'm done with him.

Brian Hemminger ( The very last one, I don't know if this is even possible, I don't know if this guy is even alive but Wallid Ismail.

Royce Gracie: I have no idea about him. He's somewhere in the jungle climbing the coconut trees in Brazil, man. 

Brian Hemminger ( Cesar Gracie said on our show a couple weeks ago that he'd be open to you training with him if you were on the UFC 134 card. Is that still a possibility?

Royce Gracie: Yes! I was talking to Nick and Nate Diaz, Gilbert Melendez. I was talking to them about going up there for my next fight. I'm definitely gonna go up there and train with the guys.

Brian Hemminger ( Cesar gave us a great Renzo Gracie story the last time he was on the show. Would you mind sharing a classic Renzo story with us?

Royce Gracie: I can't man, Renzo's my cousin (laughs) I'll give you one from Ryan. I was about to fight in Japan, about a week before the fight, Ryan comes up about three o'clock in the morning, he was coming home, knocks on my door. I woke up and opened the door and go, "What's up Ryan?" and he goes, "man, just checking up on you, man. Making sure everything's alright. Is everything okay?" I was like, "yeah, man, thank you!" Three o'clock in the morning!"

Next day, same thing! Three o'clock in the morning. "Man, coming home, just checking up on you!" and I'm like "man, thank you for checking up on me, waking me up three o'clock in the morning."

In the morning, I talk to Ryan. "Ryan, we think there's a third person, man, the guys are coming up to my room and knocking on my door at three o'clock in the morning." I was not accusing him, talking about a totally different person, "they keep waking me up, knocking on my door to make sure I'm okay. Can you talk with the team and make sure that nobody wakes me up?"

Man, the next day, I opened my door at eight o'clock in the morning. I open my door and there's everybody, the whole team is sitting down in the hallway. Ryan looks up at me and he's like, "did anybody woke you up?" and I'm like "no, man, it's good this time, thank you!" like it was a third person. He did not realize that I was talking about him the whole time. 

Brian Hemminger ( What are your thoughts on the unified rules? Would you be open to changes like allowing up-kicks to grounded opponents, stuff like that. Do you think that would be closer to what you believe to be true mixed martial arts?

Royce Gracie: The rules, you have to have the rules to make it legal, so the boxing commissions can accept. I understand the rules, doesn't mean that I agree with the rules. Like weight divisions. I understand, but on the streets, because of that, if the guy's bigger than you, "you touched my wife, man, there's gonna be a fight." I'm not gonna walk up to him and say, "hey! How much do you weigh? Oh, sorry honey, he's not in my weight division, he's too big for me." There's no such thing on the streets but I understand to make the whole thing into a business, to make it a show all over the world, you have to have such rules.

Brian Hemminger ( You haven't said who you want for that last fight, but is he a country boy?

Royce Gracie: (laughs) I need to show up. My last fight with him, I didn't show up.

Brian Hemminger ( Now, I've heard a lot of talk that Dana White might not let you fight on that UFC 134 card. They do sometimes, several times actually, they hold these special grappling exhibitions where they would bring in a really big name fighter and they'd have a jiu-jitsu competition or a submission wrestling competition or match against another big name fighter. If you were not allowed to fight on the UFC Rio card, would you be open to doing a big exhibition match against this "big name fighter" that you haven't specifically named?

Royce Gracie: Yeah. Maybe some country boy, yeah. I'd live for that. Anywhere we do that fight, any match, people would watch it.

So....what do you think Maniacs? Would you like to see Gracie have one last fight or is he just trying to relive his former glory?

*Verbal Submission co-hosts Ben Thapa and Gerry Rodriguez contributed to these questions.

For the complete audio of the interview with Royce Gracie, click here.