At 43 years of age, Renzo Gracie will face Matt Hughes at the April-10 UFC 112 show in Abu Dhabi. Besides it being Renzo’s debut in the biggest mixed martial arts organization in the world, the fight will be a chance for the Gracie to redeem his family, as Hughes’s win over cousin Royce Gracie at UFC 60 doesn’t sit well with the Jiu-Jitsu black belt. In an interview published in NOCAUTE magazine issue 84, now on sale at news stands across Brazil, Renzo speaks exclusively about his next challenge and much more. Check out a sample from the interview:
You said you want avenge Royce’s loss in this fight. Is it really so personal to you?
I believe that every time a Gracie fails, another should come to make right the situation. That’s what happened when I fought Shungo Oyama. I felt I was robbed. He was out of line, ran from the fight and behaved like I was the one not fighting. At the time I lost my head and spit in his face. I lost the fight for it, but the rules didn’t mention anything about spitting. Then Ryan came in and broke his arm. That’s been always our story. That’s what happened with Uncle Helio in the case of Waldemar Santana. Carlson went out there and smacked him around. When one comes up a bit short, the other comes and pushes it further along. Without a shadow of a doubt, it will be a pleasure to rough up Matt Hughes.
Do you believe there will be another UFC event in Brazil in the near future?
I had the chance to sit down with them (UFC board of directors) and there’s a great likelihood. I thought about it a lot, and taking the Ultimate Fighting Championship to Brazil is an ambition of mine. I believe no one deserves it more than the people of Brazil. It’s a question of time.
Why is it taking so long for Roger Gracie’s MMA career to take off?
He signed with Strikeforce and will fight. Roger is an extraordinary fellow, a kind-hearted kid with personality. He never had the ambition of becoming an MMA champion. Thank God I managed to influence him some in that, because he’s a born talent, out of the ordinary. I believe now he’s structuring himself for it. He’s someone who went all alone to England, set up a fantastic team and is working like mad and just had a daughter. Not everyone does things like me who, with three kids and a partner who was robbing me, went toe to toe with Eugenio in Brazil, then to Japan to throw down, missed a flight to Abu Dhabi and then won the ADCC. We’re talking about a kid under 30 years old. His best, once he’s stronger, with more stamina and is more mature, is yet to come. Roger’s career hasn’t even started and everyone knows he has a bright future. I feel he should cut weight and drop weight groups. I’ll convince him yet.