The octagon may soon once again boast a Gracie.
Inactive since an April 2010 loss to Matt Hughes at UFC 112, Renzo Gracie (13-7-1 MMA, 0-1 UFC) is preparing for a second fight in the UFC.
"I'm getting ready to fight again," Gracie told MMAjunkie.com (www.mmajunkie.com
) in his native Portuguese. "I have a six-fight contract with no predetermined time frame. I still have five fights to go, so I plan to jump back into it."
Gracie, a former PRIDE and IFL fighter, entered the UFC in 2010 with a three-fight win streak, though he hadn't fought since his February 2007 disqualification win over Frank Shamrock at "EliteXC: Destiny." Prior to the win streak, which also included wins over Pat Miletich and Carlos Newton, the MMA and Brazilian jiu-jitsu pioneer had lost six of seven fights.
UFC 112, of course, took place in Abu Dhabi following the purchase of a 10-percent stake of the UFC by the emirate's government-owned Flash Entertainment. Gracie was said to have played a key role in the deal as the longtime jiu-jitsu coach of Sheikh Tahnoon Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, the founder of the Abu Dhabi Combat Club and the son of former United Arab Emirates president Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan.
Some in the MMA community viewed Gracie's contract as some sort of ceremonial honor, but the proud grandnephew of the great Helio Gracie insists that is simply not the case.
"To tell the truth, no, that's not how it happened," Gracie said. "One wasn't tied to the other.
"I helped them out, but there was no fight guarantee offered. I think it was my history in the sport, that's what allowed me to get a nice contract with them, to represent the UFC. That's where I want my career to be."
UFC officials have yet to make any announcements, and Gracie is no longer listed on UFC.com under the promotion's active welterweights – though that's hardly an official measure of his status in the organization.
And so Gracie, even at 45 years old, says he's got plenty of fight left in his body, and he hopes to soon prove that in the octagon.
"I love this sport," Gracie said. "The day that a promoter won't book me to fight, even for free, that's when I'll quit."