Since the ufc announced their intentions for a Brazilian event in August, the talk surrounding Royce Gracie‘s possible inclusion on the card has been growing stronger. And the man that pretty much got the MMA truck rolling with UFC 1, UFC 2, and UFC 4 tournament wins has done nothing to squash those rumors since. Along the way, some unusual names have surfaced as willing opponents for Royce beyond the obvious Matt Hughes rumors. Yep, we’re talking about fighters like Dan Severn and Art Jimmerson.
“We’re supposed to sit down and talk in Toronto (about UFC Rio),” said Gracie, regarding the UFC brass and he on a recent episode of Inside MMA. That said, Gracie still noted some uncertainty about whether or not he would be on the card. If Gracie were to fight in Rio, he indicated that he had a potential opponent in mind. Though he didn’t come out and specifically state it during the telecast, it was hard to miss that he was talking about Hughes. In fact, the whole thing became so obvious that Kenny Rice, one of the hosts of the show, said, “We look forward to that fight with Matt Hughes,” to some laughter.
After a more than 11 year absence from the Octagon, Gracie returned to face Hughes at UFC 60. Unfortunately for him, he was thoroughly dominated by the then Miletich fighter on the ground, eventually succumbing by way of TKO in the round one. We’re talking about being mounted, flattened out on the canvas, and having his arm stretched beyond normal limits. Afterwards, Gracie blamed overtraining for his loss and indicated the desire for a rematch.
But what if the fight Gracie seems to want doesn’t happen? Well, there’s a couple of names from the past that want in. One of them is Art Jimmerson, a man that finished his boxing career with an overall record of 33-18. Old “One Glove” is known as such because at UFC 1 he attempted to fight Gracie with only one boxing glove on. In what amounted to Gracie’s first UFC win, he took Jimmerson down, mounted him, and scared him enough there to compel him to tap. Well, Jimmerson has since done some training in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and wants to right the wrongs of the past.
“I want to stay as close as we can to the Original Rules! I AM IN GREAT SHAPE,” Jimmerson told FullMount.co.uk. “I will DEFINITELY BE MORE AGGRESSIVE! I WILL THROW MORE PUNCHES AND FIGHT MY FIGHT! Royce will not dictate this one! I will not allow him to take me to the GROUND!…. Yes, I WILL WEAR THE OTHER GLOVE!”
Adding fuel to the fire here, no matter how improbable this match up may seem, is that in addition to Jimmerson training at the UFC gym, he’s also been added to their roster of fighters on UFC.com.
Finally, there’s Dan Severn. Severn is 52 years old and is still quite active in the sport. With a 99-16-7 overall MMA record, he’s already fought three times in 2011, albeit against less than stellar competition. Still, he wants to erase the memory of his first tournament experience at UFC 4 where he dominated Gracie on the ground until such time as he found himself caught in a triangle choke.
“Since the hint of a UFC event in Brazil hit the online rumor mill, Dan Severn has been passionate about his intentions to take part in this event as his finale match to his fans and the MMA community,” a statement from Severn’s camp read. “Dan has said on numerous occasions that if he had the opportunity to have such a match in Brazil, he would want it to be with Royce Gracie.
“In light of Royce publicly announcing his intent to take part in a UFC event in Brazil, Dan Severn is, officially, throwing out the challenge to Royce Gracie. Wanting to take it to the cage, one last time, in an all-out ground war – two legends of the octagon can thrill and amaze the UFC audience of yesterday and today, one last time.”
So who will it be? Will Gracie get his we-can-only-assume wish and fight Matt Hughes at UFC: Rio? Will a strange set of circumstances somehow pit him against someone from his past? Or will he fight someone not yet named, or be left off the card altogether?
Can’t wait to find out.