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The Return of Royce Gracie

By jasonadams | January 24, 2006

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Prior to the most recent Ultimate Fight Night, the UFC released a statement on it’s website saying that an announcement that was to be made during the UFN would change MMA forever. Despite the pro wrestling style over the top hard sell, I was intrigued as to what this announcement might be. Rumors and opinions flew this way and that about what the big news would be on the message boards I frequent. Was the UFC reintroducing the Lightweight division? Was the announcement the debut of the UFC in California? There were even rumors of the return of a legend to the octagon. What would it be?

I watched with much anticipation as Dana White got some face time in the octagon to make the big announcement. A “super fight” he says. First, he introduces “the greatest welterweight in UFC history”. The familiar Hank Williams Jr. song “A Country Boy Can Survive” plays as Matt Hughes makes his way to the Octagon. I really like Matt Hughes. He’s one of my favorite fighters. I’m not sure he is still the best welterweight in the UFC with the return of BJ Penn and the steady improvement of Georges St. Pierre, but let’s give Dana the benefit of the doubt on that one. Hughes is a great fighter.

Well, ok. The announcement is a fight. Hughes versus …….? My mind races through all the possible fighters that would make this a huge announcement. I turned to my girlfriend who was watching with me and said..”Royce Gracie?” Dana White then introduces “the greatest UFC fighter of all times”. As a side note, am I the only one that phrase annoyed? It’s “Greatest of all time” not “Greatest of all times”. That extra s grates my nerves like fingernails down a chalkboard. Anyway…..

Sure enough, the old UFC theme music comes on and Royce makes his way to the octagon. I have to admit I was somewhat excited to see Royce again. I was one of the guys who had no idea people even fought on the ground when UFC I rolled around and Royce rolled through the competition. As I explained to my girlfriend(who is a fan of the UFC but only for the past year or so) who Royce was, I tried to decide if I was disapointed in the announcement or not. If they hadn’t built it up quite so much and it had come as more of a surprise, I think I would have been happier. It is a big fight. But does it really change MMA forever? Hmm…

As time has gone by, we have learned more about the May showdown. It’s not for the welterweight title, as they will meet at a catch weight of 175lbs. A non-title fight means it will be 3 five minute rounds. Royce is still under contract with K1 so this is a one and done deal with the UFC. I have to admit I am excited about this fight. But we have seen Royce fight. Is the fight long enough for him to work his normal strategy of waiting for a mistake to capitalize on? Will he even be able to get the fight to the ground if Hughes doesn’t want it there? Can Royce use his height and reach to his advantage at all while the fight is standing? Will this turn out to be a good fight at all or will it just be hype?

As a fan of the sport, I hope this PPV does monster business. I hope it brings back fans who only know the sport because they know the name Royce Gracie. If Hughes wins, life as normal goes on in the UFC. If Royce happens to win, then that is the news that will change the MMA world forever. Maybe it means the UFC will try to sign Royce after his K1 deal is up. Lead to more “super fights”. If this fight can propel the UFC further into mainstream consciousness and pave the way for weekly shows and monthly PPV’s, then it will live up to the hype of the original announcement. But I’ve haven’t decided yet if I think it can.

Until next time,

Topics: All Topics, Jason Adams, MMA, UFC | 2 Comments » | Permalink | Trackback |

2 Responses to “The Return of Royce Gracie”

  1. Luke says:

    Good work. I knew it was Royce Gracie as soon as Dana White introduced Matt Hughes. There wasn’t anyone else he could announce who would have lived up to the mega-fight billing.

  2. HijoDelOso says:

    At least Dana didn’t introduce Royce as “the greatest f**king fighter of all f**king timesss!”

    Simply because I love dark humor, I’d love to see Royce tap out Matt just to see the look on Dana’s face as his booking takes a hit. I’d love to see Couture soundly spank Liddell just to see the Xience reps crying puddles at ringside. I’d love to see Penn kiss GSP during the staredown and have the Canadian disco king do a Herring on him. Any of this is more entertaining than seeing Andre destroy Sylvia a second time in under a minute.


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