Renzo Gracie, who will be making a comeback to the UFC this Saturday when he fights Matt Hughes, recently said he decided to return to the organization after a casual conversation over dinner.
“It was just a chat over dinner,” Gracie explained when appearing on MMAWeekly Radio recently. “It was me, Lorenzo (Ferttita), the Sheik, and Dana. Lorenzo looked at me and he goes, ‘what about you, do you think about going back?’”
After that simple question, Gracie began to cut over 30 pounds in weight, to prepare for his return. When he agreed to sign with the UFC, he had only one request…no easy fights.
“In reality I only had one demand when I shook hands with them because we actually just signed the contract just shaking hands over dinner that day,” Gracie said. “I only had one demand, I don’t want to fight no tomato cans, no warm-up fight. I want to fight tough people from the beginning.”
Gracie was offered a share of tough fights and was definitely happy with the opponents he received.
“They go to me ‘what about Matt Hughes? Is that tough enough for you?’” said Gracie. “They gave me the honor of facing Matt Hughes, definitely a guy I admire a lot.”
Gracie said he’s seen Hughes over the years, and actually declined the offer to train with him because he had a feeling they would meet in the cage together some day.
“In reality I always thought that I could face him,” said Gracie. “I saw a champion in him the first time I saw him. I saw someone who really wanted it, and the desire in the soul of every champion, and he had it. I wasn’t wrong, I was right. Thank God, destiny put us and our paths to cross, and we’re going to be facing each other.”
Renzo also stated that he felt very lucky to have the chance to train with Georges St. Pierre and Matt Serra, who have both faced Hughes a couple of times. And the knowledge Gracie gained from them could be found nowhere else.
“His point of view is incredible, he’s an unbelievable guy, a very kind guy, and very technical,” Gracie said about working with GSP. “I did a lot of training with Matt Serra too, and they both help me put my head in the right mindset, and my body in the right direction to be able to pull out a victory in this one.”
Gracie did mention that he knows the fight with Hughes will be tough after such a long time out of the cage, but it’s exactly what he’s looking for.
“I know it’s going to be tough. I’m not expecting nothing easy, but I’m looking forward to this fight,” said Gracie. “I really want to see how my body reacts after two and a half years.”