The UFC was originally founded by Rorion Gracie to showcase his family's jiu jitsu style. Rorion's younger brother Royce was the family's handpicked champion and he did not disappoint, winning the tournaments at UFC 1, 2, and 4 and compiling an overall UFC record of 11-1-1 in his initial run with his only loss coming by way of forfeit.
Ever since the UFC announced it would return to Rio de Janeiro in August of this year, speculation has been rife that the 45 year old Royce may return to the Octagon for the first time since his loss to Matt Hughes at UFC 60 in 2006.
Now MMA Junkie talks to Royce's manager and puts some meat on those rumor bones:
Three-time UFC tournament champion and UFC Hall of Famer Royce Gracie (14-3-3 MMA, 11-1-2 UFC) is in continuing negotiations with the promotion to appear in a retirement fight at the Brazilian event, which is expected to take place Aug. 27 at HSBC Arena in Rio de Janeiro.
Mike Kogan, the U.S. representative for the Japan-based Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG) and Gracie's longtime manager, today informed MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com) of the news.
Although negotiations are far from over, Kogan said he and Gracie are talking directly with UFC president Dana White and UFC executive Lorenzo Fertitta about the prospect of bringing the 44-year-old MMA legend back into the octagon one last name against a specific - but undisclosed - opponent.
It would be fitting for the legendary Gracie to have his retirement bout in Rio in the promotion he did as much as any fighter to build. The opponent should be picked carefully, my first choice would be a rubber match against Gracie's rival Kazushi Sakuraba.