Royce Gracie continues to campaign for a fight at UFC Rio and while there’s no updates from Zuffa HQ that make it sound like this is going to happen, speculation on who could possibly be his opponent has ramped up. The possibilities range from the silly to the uncompetitive to the impossible. Let’s start with silly:
The infamously one-gloved boxer Art Jimmerson (0-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) was first to call out than man who beat him at UFC 1, and now UFC Hall of Famer Dan Severn (98-16-7 MMA, 9-3 UFC) wants a rematch, as well.
MMA Junkie did a poll to see who people wanted Royce to face and the number 1 option was BJ Penn. Gracie himself wants a rematch with Matt Hughes. As heartwarming as it would be to see Gracie get smashed into oblivion by either men in front of his home crowd, I think I’d rather the #2 poll choice, ‘Other’.
But who could ‘Other’ be? Matt Hughes is the T-800 of the UFC, once top of the line but now considered obsolete in the face of such technology like T-1000 GSP and T-1001 Bones Jones. What does that make Royce in this lame analogy? That fat guard in the psych hospital who gets finger spiked? Even TUF rejects at the bottom of the totem pole are several generations past Royce’s skillset. The only good options are people outside the organization, but the UFC may be too rigid in it’s ways to actually consider bringing someone in even though it’d be the best solution.
Unless the UFC is able to somehow pull Sakuraba away from FEG for a fight (doubtful), it seems to me like any other option is grasping at straws. Why bring Royce back for either an ass whupping or a charade of a fight? Bring him in as a guest commentator, bring him in for a special ceremony at the start of the event, but he really doesn’t need to be fighting on the card. The guy is from 1995, for fuck’s sake.