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Royce Gracie Vs. Matt Hughes

No one thought it would have ended the way it did. The legend went down.Looking back, one can't be surprised with the result. In retrospect, it was inevitable.

Matt Hughes has been training for nearly a decade for a fight with Royce Gracie without even realizing it. When Royce Gracie unleashed Gracie Jiu Jitsu on the MMA world in UFC 1, no one knew what it was or how it worked. By UFC 2 people began to see that there was a pattern to what he was doing. The years that followed sealed Royce's fate as a marked man.

Fighters were attempting to dissect Gracie Jiu Jitsu, but in reality they were analyzing Royce Gracie's application of the fighting style. Without setting out to do so, every fighter that wanted to evolve and step up his game by learning to employ and defend Gracie Jiu Jitsu was training to fight Royce. It became Royce Gracie vs. the MMA world.

To Royce's credit, he remained largely victorious in all of his bouts for years to come. But a man with a bulls eye on his back is bound to get hit once in a while. Matt Hughes was an on target bullet at UFC 60 where he bested the king and pulled out the most significant victory of his career.

But was it fair?

That's hard to say. Matt Hughes is a tremendous athlete with dedication to his craft and an abundance of skill. Add to that palette an army of trainers teaching students how to defend and counter Royce Gracie's every move, and Matt Hughe's victory becomes somewhat destiny.

In theory, another Gracie would have had a much better shot at beating Matt Hughes. Take a look at Renzo Gracie's incredible performance against BJ Penn, who has been touted as pound for pound the best fighter on the planet by many. Renzo fought tough and nearly pulled out a victory. His different style than Royce's may have been enough for him to gain victory over Hughes.

Royce is possibly the greatest ever, but even a bullet can be dodged when its target has advanced warning.

A strategy for Royce, which under normal circumstances would seem absurd, would be to do the opposite of what some of the Gracie Jiu Jitsu tactics are. When he should place his body weight a certain way, if he were to suddenly shift the opposite way his opponent would be totally thrown off momentarily. And a moment is all a boa constrictor like Royce needs.

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Ray Mardo is a former freestlye wrestling champion who runs the Ultimate Fighting Championship.com Mixed Martial Arts website for everything related to the submission fighting sport.

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