At 47 years old, Renzo Gracie is not ready for retirement.
Scheduled to grapple against Kazushi Sakuraba at the upcoming Metamoris event in November, and Matt Hughes at 2015’s edition of ADCC in Brazil, the MMA veteran wants to get back in action under MMA rules.
Gracie hasn’t fought in MMA since 2010, when he suffered a third-round TKO loss to Matt Hughes at UFC 110. The Brazilian, who won his last MMA bout over Frank Shamrock in 2007, expects to get back in the Octagon in 2015.
"I’m ready to kick some butt," Gracie told Ariel Helwani on Monday’s edition of The MMA Hour. "After Sakuraba, I’m coming for the UFC."
"I’m as serious as hell, my friend. Believe it," he continued. "You have to understand that you’re as old as you think you are. … I have to be in shape in November for Metamoris. I have to be in shape of September next year. Let’s be in shape in the middle and do what I like the most."
UFC president Dana White never sound interested in seeing the Brazilian in the Octagon again after his performance against Hughes in Abu Dhabi, but Gracie is positive he will get the deal done.
"How can you not convince (White) if you fight even for free?" he replied. "You know the offer he did? He said ‘I’ll give you a check for you not to fight.’ I couldn’t. I’d rather fight for free."
Before he thinks about returning to the Octagon next year, the two-time ADCC gold medalist has to worry about Sakuraba. The MMA legends, who battled at PRIDE 10 in 2000, will rematch in a 20-minute, submission-only grappling contest in California on Nov. 22.
"I got a phone call from my cousin Ralek (Gracie) and he offered me the fight. He said ‘Kazushi Sakuraba may sign with us. Are you interested in fighting him?’ I said ‘sign me up,’" he said. "The day I got that call, I begin training. That was probably a month before the announcement."
The MMA veteran wasn’t too interested in competing in grappling again, but changed his couldn’t decline a chance to face "The Gracie Hunter" one more time. Sakuraba, who went 26–16–1 (2 no-contests) in MMA, defeated four members of the Gracie family in PRIDE, including Renzo.
"If life puts a source in front of you and you can drink again, how can you refuse it?" he said. "Especially for the fact that I came up short in the last one. In my head, the winner is the one who wins the last one [laughs].
"Since it’s Sakuraba, I couldn’t let go. How can I say no to having a chance to lay my hands on him one more time, you know?"
Sakuraba was the only man to submit Renzo Gracie under MMA rules, but the Brazilian doesn’t bring anything personal to the grappling match.
"It’s not (personal). He’s a gentleman, he’s a great guy," he said. "But, if I can, I will choke him out, or break his arm to pay back what he did to my arm [laughs]."
The Japanese legend broke Gracie’s arm with a kimura 14 years ago, and the Brazilian refused to tap.
"That was one of the best moments of my life," he said of the submission loss. "I realized my mind was stronger than my body."
What if Sakuraba locks another kimura on Nov. 22? Will Gracie let it snap again, or would he tap this time?
"Give me the pleasure of that pain, man," he said with a laugh. "I will put a little vicodin next to my bed, and I will wake every day and laugh at that shit before I put it in my mouth."
"Now, I can get out," he said of the kimura. "I studied every single aspect of it. To me, everything is learning."
Gracie, who expects to weigh around 182 pounds for the grappling contest on Nov. 22, joked about how he plans to defeat "The Gracie Hunter" at The Long Beach Convention Center.
"Kimura?" he laughed. "My favorite is always the guillotine. I’m very good at it."
Competing in submission-only matches is not something new to Renzo Gracie. "Before jiu-jitsu was popular," as he describes it, he already battled jiu-jitsu black belts like Wallid Ismail and Alexandre Paiva, one of the founders of Alliance Jiu-Jitsu team.
"This is a very old concept," he said. "They always called the superfights, where only the best, and people that had problems between themselves, and they would set up a show. It was always a success. I had a match with Wallid (Ismail) that was almost one hour. I had a couple matches with ‘Gigi’ (Alexandre Paiva), the head of Alliance, for half an hour. I’ve been doing this a long time, before jiu-jitsu was popular."
If he could change anything in the Metamoris rules, Renzo Gracie would get rid of the time limit to get rid of the possibility of a draw.
"I would (prefer with no time limit) because I would rather know who won," he said. "I’m going to die old like anybody else, shitting my pants like anybody else, but knowing who I was. I don’t care. If it was me the one who got submitted or not, (at least) I would know.
"In reality, there’s no need for points in a match like this. That’s how I grew up," he continued. "Those fights were the test. We had those at the academies sometimes. We sit down and both went on it until one taps. I grew up with this. For me, this is very natural, and I’m glad they brought this and make it popular."