ARTICLE: The legend vs. the champ

The article below is from today's (May 25/06) sports section in the Ottawa Sun (it's a wire story from the Canadian Press) which is a mainstream daily tabloid. It's a respectful description of UFC 60 without any stupid reference to "barbarism" of "human cockfighting." Hopefully this is a sign that the days of reporting MMA events as a sideshow are approaching an end.

May 25, 2006
The legend vs. the champ
By CP (taken from the Ottawa Sun)

Gracie-Hughes showdown has potential to be UFC classic

The card pits one of mixed martial arts' legends against one of its most dominant champions.

And Saturday night, fans will find out whether 39-year-old submission artist Royce Gracie, who has seen limited action in recent years, can handle the raw power of 32-year-old welterweight champion Matt Hughes at the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

UFC 60: Hughes vs. Gracie (available on pay per view) marks the Ultimate Fighting Championship's second straight foray into California after a sellout in Anaheim in April.

Gracie's longevity is shown by the fact that he won UFC 1: The Beginning in 1993 and UFC 2: No Way Out in 1994. The Brazilian jiu-jitsu ace was unable to continue at UFC 3: The American Dream suffering the effects of a tough win over Kimo Leopoldo. But he returned three months later to defeat wrestling icon Dan "The Beast" Severn and win UFC 4: Revenge of the Warriors late in 1994.

In 1995, he made his last UFC appearance -- a 36-minute draw with Ken Shamrock in UFC 5: Return of the Beast.

The lanky Brazilian, who now calls California home, compiled an 11-1-1 record in two years in the UFC.

Eleven years and 54 pay per views later, Gracie (now 13-2-3) is back.

But times have changed. No longer do UFC fighters take on multiple opponents in one night -- Gracie dispatched three and four rivals, respectively, in winning UFC 1 and 2. Of course, each win lasted less than two minutes on average as he worked some nasty submission magic.

Plus, UFC fighters are well-rounded these days. The cream of the crop can punch, wrestle and pull off -- and defend -- submission moves.

In Gracie's era, the UFC had no rules and pitted wrestler against boxer, judo against jiu-jitsu.

If Gracie represents the past, Hughes is a plain-talking, pain-dealing star of the present.

He's a Midwest farm boy who calls reporters sir and values family and faith. But he's not averse to playing mind games with opponents -- or picking them up, slamming them into the ground and then carving them up with elbows to the face.

The former all-American wrestler also has a mixed martial arts record of 40-4-0 and has lost just one of his last 18 bouts (by submission to B.J. Penn at UFC 46: Supernatural in 2004).

An accomplished wrestler, Hughes knows little good can come from being on the ground with a submission specialist like Royce Gracie. But the 170-lb. champion is anything but awed by the UFC Hall of Famer.

"I think he's somewhat one-dimensional," Hughes said in an interview. "He's a ground fighter and a ground fighter only. The one thing he's got standup-wise (striking) is he's unorthodox ... I don't think he has any wrestling. I think his objective will be to try to drag me to the ground any way he can."