UFC president Dana White confirmed that middleweight champion Anderson Silva would defend his title against long time contender Yushin Okami at the UFC Rio event that will take place in August of this year.
However, also rumored for the card is UFC pioneer Royce Gracie as he openly stated that he was negotiating to make his UFC return earlier this week.
Of course it’s all speculation at this point, but I find it fitting that Royce would fight his final MMA match in Brazil at a UFC event. After all, there is no UFC without the Gracie’s and the performance of Royce in the early days.
I can’t think of anyone more fitting for Royce to fight at UFC Rio than Ken Shamrock. Here’s why:
- They both have unfinished business going back to their last fight at UFC 5 with ended in a draw due the time limit expiring with no judges.
- Both have stated in the past that they wanted to fight one another again.
- Both are near the same age
- Ken Shamrock can sell a fight like no other
The two have undeniable history with Royce submitting Ken at UFC 1, and then both fighting to a draw at UFC 5. Both have openly criticized one another since that last fight, mainly arguing who won even though the time limit expired and no judges were present to declare a winner. So this would be a chance for these guys to fight one final time, call it a career, and close that final chapter in their lives as UFC Hall of Famers. A possible hitch would be what weight the fight would take place at. Gracie walks around around 180lbs with Shamrock walking around over 200lbs, however, with the fight taking place in Rio de Janeiro that could be negotiated since no athletic commission would be present.
Shamrock has been on the outs with Zuffa and filed a lawsuit against them in which he ultimately lost and actually wound up having to pay the UFC legal fees, so that’s another obstacle to overcome if this fight were to come to fruition.
Dana White has shown that he can put his personal feelings aside and do business with those he personally dislikes. I don’t exactly know what his feelings are toward Shamrock, but I’m sure Shamrock would jump at the offer to compete against Gracie one final time.
Of all the guys that Gracie has fought in the past, I think Shamrock is the one in which the fight would serve somewhat more of a purpose other than just having Gracie on the card because the event is in Brazil. The only other fighter that comes to mind would be Kazushi Sakuraba, but Gracie defeated him in his last outing back in 2007(but tested positive for steroids afterwards). So there could be some unfinished business there, but from a business standpoint I think Shamrock would slightly be the better choice since both Gracie/Shamrock fights took place in the UFC.