44-year-old MMA pioneer Royce Gracie has been campaigning for a return to the UFC, saying that he wants to have one last fight before he calls it a career and that he wants it to go down in the house that he helped build, this summer at UFC: Rio.
Speaking with MMAJunkie.com, UFC president Dana White addressed Gracie’s desire to hold his swan song in the UFC.
“[Royce] thinks that his performance against Matt Hughes wasn’t what not what it could have been, and thinks he can beat Matt Hughes,” White said. “He wants that fight again.”
Gracie and Hughes met at UFC 60 in 2006, with Hughes taking the fight easily via first round TKO. Despite the fact that the UFC’s first champion was thoroughly handled by Hughes (he has fought once more since, earning a unanimous decision over Kazushi Sakuraba in 2007 — he later tested positive for anabolic steroids) in his last appearance in the promotion, White isn’t so sure that he shouldn’t be allowed back within its eight walls.
“Who am I to say? There’s times when I step in – for instance, like Chuck Liddell,” he said. “And I say, ‘Chuck, I think you should retire.’ Do I think Royce Gracie (should fight again?) I don’t know. He didn’t look too damn good against Matt the first time.”