Is Steve Cofield (Yahoo Sports) simply trying to stir the pot? No doubt he is, the guy isn't the most respected MMA journalist out there. Either way, the hype for the fight is starting to ramp up. See the clip below for Matt Serra's response to Hughes possibly taken Renzo lightly.
So now that you've watched that clip, Matt Pena (trainer for Matt Hughes, Robbie Lawler & Spencer Fisher) has posted a reply on the Underground stating the following.
"The claims that Hughes is calling Renzo old is a complete fabrication from a writer struggling to find a story, so he is making one! I was next to the two guys when they were doing their interviews both times in Miami. Hughes was having fun with the interview and making a references to how the young new generation of fighters has arrived, and how him and Renzo were the older guys fighters in the division. So Cofield turns this, and tells Serra that "Matt called Renzo old" in an attempt to create fireworks. A gracious Serra (after his win) saw right through it, and said Hughes must have been kidding. Then Serra said, if Matt thinks Renzo old than Hughes is taking Renzo too lightly. All of a sudden he's pushing a story that Serra said, "Hughes is taking Renzo too lightly".
The truth is, Matt thinks Renzo is the best MMA fighting Gracie out there. Matt is currently in Salt Lake City with Jeremy Horn and myself at Elite Performance. Matt showing up to camp 9 weeks out is a record for him. Hardly the signs of someone taking a fight lightly. We anticipate a tough fight, and Matt will be ready for a tough fight."
So there you have it. He goes on to talk about the editing from the Ultimate Fighter show being cut to show Hughes in a negative light, but for me, that was the real Matt Hughes. I read this autobiography "Made in America" and although it was a semi interesting book, I found myself thinking he came across as a jerk in his own book.
On to some other news...
Rolles Gracie made his octagon debut on Saturday night at UFC 109. For those who've seen the fight or read the commentary afterwords, he had a less than perfect performance. Rolles is a world class black belt and some of his Gi and NoGi Jiu Jitsu matches can be seen on youtube to back this up. Joe Rogan and Mike Goldberg commented that the adrenaline dump from his first fight in the top organization coupled with the pressure he put on himself could have been significant contributing factors.
Here is a quote from Renzo from Graciefighter.com
"It was embarrasing", lamented the legendary fighter/coach. "I can tell you he wasn't in that bad of shape. Fact is the nerves drained him of his energy. His stand up and ground work looked bad, nothing at all like he was doing in training leading up to the fight and it was if he couldn't hear what I was telling him. I think the pressure he put on himself overwhelmed him." He'll learn and be back."
Mmajunkie.com has an article on Braulio Estima's preperation to enter MMA. (more on that another time) He referenced Rolles as well...
Estima worked with Gracie and said the UFC newcomer was injured and unable to train.
"His performance was nowhere near what we expected and what he expected," Estima said. "He had a lot of injuries in training. He hurt his rib and that stopped him training for a while. But he was very excited to do it and he put a lot of pressure on himself. It wasn't the best decision to fight." Estima said he's taking extra care to ensure an impressive debut.
Article can be read here...
At any rate, I believe Rolles will bounce back. He's still very young in his MMA career and has the pedegree to make an impact. I'm hopeful that the UFC will give him a shot at redemption at some point. He'll be back! Here's a picture of myself with Rolles and Sudbury BJJ blue belt Guy "Kinda Thing" Poulin.