Heavy.com has confirmed with sources close to the UFC that a welterweight matchup between Renzo Gracie and Matt Hughes is in the works for UFC 109 in February.
Gracie, 42, last appeared in a February 2007 disqualification victory over Frank Shamrock. Rumors have circulated over the last month that the legendary Gracie family member has been in negotiations with the UFC. Both fighters have been approached about the fight, but bout agreements have not been signed.
Now this is matchmaking! Despite his ranking at #6 on the USAT/SBN Consensus MMA Rankings, Hughes is done as a serious title contender after two losses to champ Georges St. Pierre and a loss to Thiago Alves. But he's still a very marketable attraction and a formidable competitor. His most famous and lucrative bout was his UFC 60 fight with Royce Gracie.
Renzo Gracie on the other hand, is probably the most respected of the original generation of Gracies that popularized jiu jitsu and MMA in the U.S and Japan in the 1990s. Unlike his cousins Royce and Rickson, he never developed a reputation for hand-picking his opponents and he faced some of the top fighters of his era: Oleg Taktarov, Maurice Smith, Kazushi Sakuraba, Dan Henderson, Carlos Newton, B.J. Penn, Pat Miletich, and Frank Shamrock.
But his most famous fight would have to be his bout with Luta Livre ace Eugenio Tadeu in 1997. That fight ended in a riot that killed the commercial prospects for MMA in Brazil for a decade.
Despite having had a great career in MMA, Renzo has never fought for the UFC.
It's easy to see why Matt Hughes declined to fight Mike Swick, Josh Koscheck or Jon Fitch when he can make a great deal more money fighting the 42 year old Renzo.