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Royce Gracie interested in rematch with Matt Hughes

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Bellator 138 Photos Esther Lin, MMA Fighting

Royce Gracie is down to fight Matt Hughes a second time.

Hughes, a former UFC welterweight champion, retired from the sport after losing to Josh Koscheck in 2011, but recently said he’s interested in fighting one more time. MMA Fighting has learned that Hughes approached Bellator with the idea of facing Gracie, and the Brazilian legend welcomes the idea.

"Man, that would be great,” Gracie told MMA Fighting. "That would be great. Everybody wants to see this second fight.”

Gracie first left the UFC in 1995 after fighting to a draw with Ken Shamrock, and only returned to action five years later in Japan, competing five times between 2000 and 2005.

One year after his last bout at K-1 Dynamite, a draw with Hideo Tokoro, the Brazilian returned to the Octagon to face then-welterweight champion Hughes in a 175-pound catchweight bout, but lost via first-round TKO.

Eleven years later, Gracie knows what he would do different to avenge his loss to Hughes.

“I'd be in the fight,” Gracie said. “The strategy was right. Everything we planned and imagined he would do, he did. But I wasn’t in the fight."

Gracie said that Bellator officials didn’t reach out to him with any offers to fight Hughes, but he’d be down to fighting any time, anywhere.

"I never stopped training, I never stopped working out,” said Gracie, who recently beat Ken Shamrock via first-round TKO at Bellator 149, almost nine years after his previous bout with Kazushi Sakuraba, going 2-0 since his UFC 60 loss to Hughes. “My body is in great shape, the machine is working. There’s only one way to find out (who would win): we have to do it again."

“Boy, if you want to fight me right now, I’ll meet you there [laughs],” he continued. "When you're a fighter, you have to be ready all the time. There’s no ‘I need a month’. It’s always time. When you're a fighter, any time is time to fight. I won’t ask for more time, say 'I need to get ready'. You’re a warrior or you’re not.”

In his interview, Hughes said "if I could find an opponent that I could definitely beat, I would go again,” and Gracie didn’t feel disrespected.

“He's confident,” Gracie said. “That's good. That’s good when the guy has confidence. It’s not bad. I want to fight someone who thinks like that. It’s good when you have confidence. That shows he’s a champion, not a loser.”