T Nation

Comments on Hughes vs. Gracie


Disclaimer: Don't read this if you don't want to know the winner of the fight!

There's no doubt that I'm a huge fan of the Gracie family - more specifically, what Gracie JJ did for the sport of MMA.

I was damn-near hyperventilating when Big John yelled, "Let's get it on." I've never been so excited to see a fight. The only Gracie I would've been more excited to see Hughes fight is Rickson. But, of course, that ain't gonna happen.

Unfortunately, the fight ended fast. I've gotta give my utmost respect to Matt Hughes. He did EXACTLY what he said he was going to do. His skills are nothing short of remarkable. His game has virtually no weak spots.

As for Royce, even if you're not a fan of him or his family, I hope you'll look at Royce's face when Matt had his left elbow hyperextended. I don't know of anyone who could've withstood that position. You can't deny Royce's focus and ability to withstand abuse.

But overall, I was disappointed because I know this was a once-in-a-lifetime event. I really wished the fight would've lasted longer so both fighters could've shown more of their skills. But Matt dominated, and he deserves all the credit.

Indeed, the sport of MMA has greatly evolved since UFC 1. The Hughes vs. Gracie bout perfectly supports that statement.


Yeah,I believe it went down 100% like Zeb said it would.


This fight might have seriously affectd the chances of it, but Sakuraba was picked up by K-1 and K-1 has $3 million if Rickson takes the fight with Saku. Rickson is mulling it over, I don't think it will happen but we can hope. After seeing Royce, Rickson might not want to put his legend on the line.


Hi guys,

Just finished watching the fights myself and honestly I've got to say that Hughes made Gracie look like a complete amatuer. Even Gracie's ground game looked average at best.

Yeah, I've gotta give him credit for not tapping from the wrapping arm lock, and I know several people who could/would have also dealt with that position, but aside from that he looked plain pitiful. Sorry if I'm stepping on anyone's toes by saying that, but it's true. It looked like as if a begginning grappler entered into the advanced division.

I too would like to see Hughes beat Rickson. I say beat simply because judging by how badly Royce got dominated at his own game, I really can't believe that Rickson is going to be that much better, especially since he hasn't fought in even longer than Royce had leading up to this fight.

I guess Hughes was right about the Gracie's not being the best out there on the ground (although I already knew that). I do take issue with Royce's comment (in the prefight trailer) about "if Matt beats me with an arm-bar or choke, that just means that I'm a good coach (basically inferring that anyone who knows submissions/jiu-jitsu must have learned it from a Gracie)".

Yeah, there are a lot of people who were trained either directly or indirectly in jiu-jitsu/submission by the Gracies, and a lot who knew nothing about these types of fighting before the advent of the UFC. But, there are also people who have been training jiu-jitsu/submission in this country since long before anyone had even heard of the name Gracie. In fact, Shihan Lysak , not a member of the Gracie family, actually taught Matt Hughes his very first submission. Not to mention that Matt is also a student of Robert Bussey who also teaches submissions/jiu-jitsu (and didn't learn it from the Gracies).

Good training,



both fighters are pretty damn amazing! the fight short and sweet!


Forget Hughes vs Gracie, the best fights came after the Main Event.

::Melvin Guillard Vs. Rick Davis::
Melvin looked like minime-Randleman, hair color and all. Strong, fast, determined fighter. He trained at a gym where I live, Orlando, Fl. Win by BRUTAL, FACEPLANT, KO.

::Spencer Fisher Vs. Matt Wiman::
Two no-namer lightweights going at it. Wasn't expecting much, but Spencer came to show the world his skills. He reminds me of Jens Pulver. That's not a bad comparison. Win by flying knee KO.


Melvin unloaded on that guy.

47 fights at 23 years old? What is going on with that guy?


Royce hasn't fought a meaningful fight since Sakuraba at Pride Grand Prix in 2000. Hughes is fighting top competition all the time.

Rickson has NEVER put his so-called legend on the line. Royce and Renzo have. Rickson has only fought washed up has-beens in fights that were probably "works" (fixed fights). I would have liked to have seen Rickson, in his prime, fight in today's MMA. Now, that would be interesting.

I have rolled with both Royce and Rickson. Rickson is an awesome instructor, Royce not so much. Renzo was great. I went to his school for two years and trained with him personally. He is a GREAT guy and great teacher. I respect him because more because he would fight anyone and not worry about his rep.

Just my two Lincolns. Some people may have different views or experiences.


Those are two primo "Lincolns" you threw out. Thanks for posting!


I agree. There were some great bouts in that UFC. Surprisingly, Hughes vs. Gracie turned out to be one of the most uneventful.

Even though he doesn't have the record to prove it, I was thoroughly impressed with Dean Lister. Very impressive performance. I think he has a bright future in the sport.


I think most people knew Matt vs. Royce was going to be one-sided. Royce should have also known since he would have lost to the 150 lb janitor he fought in K-1 on new years eve if he didn't require a no judges match.


I wouldn't exactly call Spencer a nobody. He's 18-2 and one of those losses deserves a huge asterisk (He was on vacation and agreed to take a fight on two days notice that required him to cut 20 pounds). I'd say he is one of the favorites to lay claim to the UFC LW belt.

Spencer is the #2 LW at Miletich Fighting Systems behind only, you guessed it, Jens 'Little Evil' Pulver.


To be fair, that 'janitor' is also a pretty fair professional fighter.

That was the first time in Royce's career that he has ever fought a smaller man, so it's not surprising that he struggled with Tokoro's speed and quickness. Royce beat his legend on taking a beating from bigger and stronger men and waiting for them to gas out. Tokoro was unlike anyone he had ever faced before.

You also have to factor in that Royce only had about a week to prepare for Tokoro. He was originally scheduled to fight Japanese judoka Yoshiro Akiyama, a much bigger man who fit the profile of Royce's previous opponents. When you gear all your training to fighting a big lumbering guy and at the last minute your opponent is switched to uber-quick little guy, that can throw off your game.


Matt Hughes did not dominate Royce with his ground game! He dominated him with his striking ability. In a BJJ match, Royce would win. During the only moments on the ground when Matt wasn't pummeling Royce with blows, Royce got him into a half guard and was working a few potential submission holds.

The testimony to the sport's evolution lies in the complete development of its fighters.

In the beginning, fans were convinced that the BJJ ground game ruled all (as was Rorion and Royce's intent). This fight simply illustrated how wrong that illusion was.


Akiyama is lean and heavily muscled but he's about the same height and weight as Matt Hughes, so I wouldn't say he was similar to Royce's previous opponents. Further, Akiyama is exceptionally fast, powerful and coordinated, not lumbering at all. Also, Akiyama has more dangerous standup and ground and pound than Tokoro, so if Tokoro could rough Royce up bad with strikes Akiyama could of done worse. Akiyama also happened to thwart his latest opponents (Nagata, an Olympic silver wrestler) takedowns so Royce wouldn't achieve the takedown. And he has shown intelligence in attempting to avoid his opponent's strengths, such as in his fight with Nagata, where he kept his distance to avoid the takedown all the while allowing him to pick Nagata apart with strikes finally kaying him with a spinning back kick. A smart plan would have been to do the same against Royce.

Ironically, I think Royce may have been able to claim a victory of sorts by surviving against Akiyama due to the likelihood of Akiyama wearing a gi. Royce is the master at stalling by latching onto his opponent's gi.


BUt Tokoro took Royce down and was on top alot in that fight. Since he was also in Royce's guard it wasn't like Tokoro could bounce around. If Tokoro were a little bigger and stronger he could have dominated that fight. Also Tokoro is good he isn't great. he has some spectacular losses. Matt Hughes is better on all levels and bigger. Watching form Japan I just wasn't expecting much from this fight. I think fans in America have to be exposed to more mma. If they had seen Royce-Tokoro maybe they would not have wanted Hughes-Royce.