Matt Hughes is a legend in the sport of MMA, but is at a point where his career is coming to an end. Even Hughes himself knows that there is not much time left for him in the Octagon and that he is at a crossroads where he is being pulled in different directions.
Between the UFC, his wife and himself, Hughes is unsure what exactly is his direction at this point in time. Hughes recently lost to Josh Koscheck, getting knocked out in the first round. This loss moved Hughes to two first-round knockout losses in a row. Hughes has gone 3-4 in his last seven fights and has been getting finished in each loss. While still holding a record of 45-9, he knows that his ability to keep up with the new generation of athletes is dwindling and his time is at an end.
Hughes is at a point where many feel he needs to retire, but it would seem Hughes, fueled by the itch of competition and assumingly attractive offers from Dana White, still has one fight left in him before hanging up the gloves.
While fighters like Dan Hardy have expressed an interest in fighting Hughes, there is only one that would bring the best business in and still be a suitable and great matchup for the former Welterweight Champ.
That man is Royce Gracie.
Hughes understands he is not making another title run, nor wants to move up or down in weight. His option is to take an exciting fight the fans and the UFC want, and one that will pay well and potentially cap off his legacy. Who better than the legend himself, Royce Gracie?
Gracie and Hughes fought in 2006, a matchup that was historic and would prove to be the beginning of Hughes’ moniker, “The Gracie Killer.” While Hughes did win that fight, a rematch would be an incredible match to see.
Since neither is in their primes anymore, the playing field seems a little more fair than when fans first heard Hughes was going to fight Koscheck or Sanchez. Hughes is currently 38 and Gracie is 45. The advantage goes to Hughes, but based on statistics, this would be a great way to go out on a win.
Typically taking a fight that doesn’t advance you forward against a guy you already beat isn’t attractive, but because of the circumstances, would be a great finale for Hughes, as well as Gracie.
When speaking to Royce Gracie, he discussed how there is only one fight he wants to have, and that is against Matt Hughes. Gracie wants revenge, for himself as well as Renzo Gracie and Ricardo Almeida. Gracie has not competed in MMA since 2007, but is still on board to take on Matt Hughes, and only Matt Hughes.
Now that the UFC has returned to Brazil and will have put its third huge show by the end of this summer, it would seem fitting to get Hughes and Gracie to square off in Brazil. It ideally would be the last fight for both men, being a retirement bout regardless of result. It is a fight Hughes might feel very comfortable with and one that probably wouldn’t leave Hughes being woken up by a referee in the first round.
Financially, this fight would be a great move by Hughes to arrange. A fight between Hughes and Gracie in Brazil would certainly do very well at the live gate and on PPV. Two Hall-of-Fame legends, one out for vengeance, the other looking to seal his legacy and go out on a win. The marketing for this fight would be immense and easy to pitch.
Gracie had requested a large amount of money to fight back when the UFC was initially returning to Rio, and probably would be no different this time. While the payouts for Hughes and Gracie would be staggering numbers, they would be trumped by the revenue of the event. Gracie knows his worth and is looking to be compensated for putting himself back out there after so many years. Justifiably, if this fight were made, it would be one of the biggest Welterweight showdowns in history.
While it might have a novelty side to it, it is still a fight that would be competitive. Even though Gracie is much older and has not fought in MMA in years, he is still a seventh-degree red and black belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu and still trains.
This is a fight that is not easy for either man since both are dangerous in their own right. Betting odds would side with Hughes, and if he did win, it would be a much better way to retire than the path of Chuck Liddell.
This is a fight that many fans would want to see and is beneficial for both fighters to take. Although unfortunate to see Hughes on his way out, it would be great to see him leave the Octagon on a win. Gracie is no walk in the park, though. Regardless, if this fight were to be made, you would see two legends going toe-to-toe, one motivated by putting everything into his last fight and the other motivated by taking back one of only two losses in his career.
Who do you think his last fight should be? Would you like to see Hughes vs. Gracie?