This has not been a good week for MMA’s old school enthusiasts. A day after Randy Couture announced his UFC 129 fight against Lyoto Machida would be his last, UFC president Dana White told MMAFighting on Tuesday Royce Gracie would not be returning to the organization at “UFC 134: Rio.”
Ever since the Octagon announced they would make their long awaited return to Brazil on August 27th, Gracie’s name has been mentioned as a possible participant in the show. The 44-year-old appeared as a guest on last week’s edition of “Inside MMA” and hinted at a potential rematch with Matt Hughes.
Gracie won three of the UFC’s first four tournaments with a jiu-jitsu game that was foreign to most fighters competing at the time. While he clocked in at just 6-foot-1-inches and 175ish pounds, the pioneer used his slick submission skills to tapout countless oversized opponents.
Gracie holds a 14-2-3 professional MMA record and has not competed in the sport in almost four years. After nearly an 11-year hiatus from the UFC, Gracie made an unceremonious return to the Octagon in May of 2006. Hughes, who was donning the UFC welterweight title at the time, steamrolled the legend in their 175-pound catchweight bout.
The BJJ specialist was last seen posting a unanimous decision win over Kazushi Sakuraba in June 2007. Shortly after the victory, Gracie tested positive for steroids and was issued a one-year suspension by the California State Athletic Commission.
UFC 134 takes place inside the HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Here are the contestants rumored for the fiesta:
Spencer Fisher vs. Thiago Tavares
Ross Pearson vs. Edson Barboza
Stanislav Nedkov vs. Luiz Cane
Mauricio “Shogun” Rua vs. Forrest Griffin
Yushin Okami vs. Anderson Silva (UFC Middleweight Champion)