Matt Hughes has mauled two of the Gracies, Renzo and Royce, plus he's defeated one their best students, Matt Serra. He's usually willing to call guys out, but that's not the case with the Gracies and their latest protege to step up, Ricardo Almeida. When he was asked about facing Almeida, Hughes responded by requesting that the media cut out the silly nicknames.
"It’s nothing personal for me. I don’t want to be called 'The Gracie Killer,'" Hughes said during the UFC 117 prefight press conference. "I like Renzo and Royce. They were just the guys the UFC put in front of me."
Now that doesn't mean there won't be some passion on the side of Almeida. He was in Abu Dhabi at UFC 112 when Hughes beat down Renzo.
"I was in the corner ... and I asked for the fight then," said Almeida. "I thought a big part of your team is having your training partner’s back. It was definitely an emotional night for me but nothing personal. [This is] just a chance to fight a UFC Hall of Famer and someone who has done a lot for the sport."
Hughes can also relate to Almeida's desire to beat the guy who beat his coach.
"I did the same thing after Pat Miletich lost a couple of times," said Hughes. "I wanted to face those same guys. So I understand where Ricardo is at and what he’s doing."
Hughes (44-7, 17-5 UFC) fought Jose Landi-Jons, Carlos Newton and Renzo Gracie after Miletich had suffered losses to each member of the trio. He went 2-1, losing to Landi-Jons.
Almeida (12-3, 5-3 UFC) is a recent addition to the UFC's welterweight division. He won his debut at 170 pounds over Matt Brown via rear-naked choke.