On Monday afternoon, legendary mixed martial artist Renzo Gracie was a guest on Ariel Helwani’s The MMA Hour, and the two discussed a variety of interesting topics. Perhaps the most noteworthy, though, was Gracie’s desire for one of his namesakes to fight during Zuffa’s return to Brazil at UFC 134.
“I hope Royce fights," Renzo Gracie said. "To have a Gracie fight there would be great—great for the fans to have someone from my family fighting. I hoped to do it, but I don't have the time to concentrate to it."
Renzo Gracie is right. UFC 134 just wouldn’t seem right without a member of the infamous Gracie clan fighting on the card. After all, it was the Gracie’s who helped refine Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu into the beautiful art it is today, and it was Royce Gracie who won UFC 1, in the process, showing the fight world that size doesn’t matter.
It is unarguable that the Gracie family has played a key role in developing the sport of mixed martial arts into what it is today. Not only did Helio and Carlos Gracie create Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, but Rorion Gracie is a co-founder of the UFC and it was at his insistence that Royce represent the Gracie family at UFC 1.
To say the Gracies helped MMA evolve doesn’t do the family justice; the Gracies are mixed martial arts, especially Royce Gracie.
That’s why Royce Gracie needs to fight at UFC 134. He actually wanted to fight Matt Hughes in a re-match to avenge his loss to the power-bombing wrestler, but Gracie’s idea was nixed when Hughes was given a date with Diego Sanchez at UFC 135. Still, there are plenty of other intriguing matchups to make.
While indications are that he has yet to meet with Dana White since making his intentions to comeback known—the pair never met up at the UFC Fan Expo in Toronto when they were supposed to—now is the time for the two sides to get together, what with UFC 134 only a few short months away.
The card, as it stands, is stacked with Brazilian talent, including middleweight kingpin Anderson Silva defining the 185-pound title, the legendary Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira in his return from a year-and-a-half long hiatus and former UFC light heavyweight champion Mauricio “Shogun” Rua in his first fight since dropping the belt.
In all, UFC 134 has 10 bouts that have been confirmed to some degree, so with the company’s recent trend of holding 12 fights on a card, there is still room for Royce Gracie to fight. With the addition of Royce Gracie to the card, UFC 134 has the potential to be something truly special for not only does Royce Gracie mean a lot to MMA, but he means even more to the people of Brazil.
Royce Gracie needs to fight at UFC 134 in Brazil. He holds an impressive legacy in the history of the sport and it’s safe to say the UFC wouldn’t exist today if he didn’t help put it on the map that one winter’s night in Denver, Colorado.
Put the man on the card, because not only does he want it, but it’s safe to say the fans want it too.
And with everything Royce Gracie has done for mixed martial arts, it’s truly the right thing to do.