Ever since it was announced that the UFC would be returning to Brazil to hold an event for the first time since 1998, it was speculated that MMA pioneer and and Brazilian jiu-jitsu legend Royce Gracie would be returning to action for the card.
In addition to appearing at the preliminary press conference announcing the card alongside other Brazilian UFC stars, CagePotato.com has learned that Gracie has canceled his Spring-scheduled European seminars in order to focus specifically on training for his return to action, which would come in late Summer.
CagePotato spoke with Gracie’s manager, Mike Kogan, concerning the possibility that the legend might come out of retirement for the landmark event.
“We are talking about fighting in August,” Kogan said, adding however, “Nothing is locked down, no.”
A UFC Hall of Famer, Gracie is a UFC veteran dating back to the promotion’s very first event, which was designed in part by his own family and was intended to prove which single style of martial arts was the most dominant. He participated in the first five UFC events, the first four being tournaments. Gracie won UFC 1, 2 and 4, but was forced to withdraw from UFC 3 after a grueling bout against Kimo Leopoldo. At UFC 5, Gracie fought Ken Shamrock to a draw in a high-profile super fight.
Gracie has competed in both PRIDE and K-1 Dynamite!!, and returned to the UFC in 2006, where he was defeated by Matt Hughes via first round TKO. His last appearance in MMA competition came at Dynamite!! USA in 2007; he defeated Kazushi Sakuraba via decision, though tested positive for anabolic steroids following that fight.