Former UFC champ Bas Rutten wishes he'd fought legendary Rickson Gracie

He was UFC Heavyweight champ and the long-time King of Pancrase but Bas Rutten still wishes he'd gotten his shot at Rickson Gracie.

Inside MMA host and former Pride announcer Bas Rutten also used to do a bit of fighting back in the 90's. Despite winning the UFC Heavyweight title and reigning of Japan's Pancrase organization back when that meant something, Bas has one big regret from his fighting career.

He told Fighter's Only all about it:

Is there one fighter you never faced off against, but wished you had?

"Rickson Gracie. At the time everyone was saying he was the greatest so I actually challenged him. People twisted the whole thing and tried to say it was because I didn't like him. But I had nothing against him, I just wanted to find out who was the best.

"And I would have loved another rematch against Ken [Shamrock], after improving my ground skills. It almost happened in Pride, and I would have come out of retirement, but he declined. He said we'd already done it twice and didn't need a third."

While I would never accuse the great Rickson Gracie of ducking an opponent, he did choose his dance partners carefully. Would Bas have been able to beat Gracie? It's hard to say and much would depend on when the fight took place. In his early years, Rutten's lack of grappling expertise would have cost him, later on....we'll never know and it's too bad.

Rickson Gracie certainly managed his reputation carefully and chose his fights wisely from a financial standpoint, but his habit of feasting on over-matched pro-wrestlers has left his reputation a bit in the shadows of his younger brother Royce, who faced a much more serious list of competition.

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