A grandnephew to Helio Gracie and arguably the most successful fighter from the Brazilian Jiu-jitsu royal family, Renzo Gracie is returning to action on April 10th at UFC 112 in what will be his first fight since he took on Frank Shamrock in February of 2007.
Gracie, a sixth degree Gracie-Barra Brazilian Jiu-jitsu Black Belt, will be taking on former UFC welterweight champion Matt Hughes; a bout that takes on extra significance since Hughes handily dispatched of Renzo’s cousin, Royce Gracie, in their 2006 Octagon meeting.
During a live chat with readers of MMAFighting.com, Gracie spoke to whether or not he believes that Hughes disrespected his family in defeating Royce.
“No. I don’t think so,” Gracie said. “I just think the person who wins has the right to say what he wants and the person who loses has to shut up. So my family came up on the short end last time but I’m looking forward to getting everything back.”
Hughes hasn’t looked as dominant lately as he did during his title reign, but during his last bout with Renzo Gracie protege Matt Serra, it was clear that Hughes is still a threatening wrestler with some gas left in his tank. Gracie knows this and believes that the martial art that his family reinvented will be his key to overcoming Hughes’ power.
“Better jiu jitsu is what will make the difference in this fight — I can grapple better than he can,” said Renzo. “He’s extremely strong as a wrestler. He’s a powerful guy, definitely. He has unbelievable endurance. The only thing he’s lacking, though, is jiu jitsu. That’s what I can capitalize on.”
Gracie is riding a three fight win streak (although his last win, over Frank Shamrock, came by way of disqualification due to illegal knee strikes delivered by Shamrock) and has competed against legends like Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson, Pat Miletich, and Carlos Newton; but when asked who his toughest opponent has been, Gracie is clear in his response.
“Always the next one,” Gracie said. “So right now, I think my toughest opponent is Matt Hughes.”
Renzo Gracie will make his UFC debut by taking on Matt Hughes Saturday afternoon at “UFC 112: Invincible”. This fight will join a middleweight title fight between champion Anderson Silva and challenger Demian Maia, and a lightweight championship bout between champ BJ Penn and challenger Frankie Edgar on the main card portion of the pay-per-view show.