by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
When you fight someone from the Renzo Gracie academy, you’re fighting the whole team.
It looks like Matt Hughes might be going for the actual trifecta of top fighters from the family of schools, as it’s likely the former welterweight champion will face one of the top Renzo Gracie black belts to ever compete in MMA with Ricardo Almeida looking like his next opponent at UFC 117 in August.
Negotiations are ongoing and sources close to the bout indicated to MMAWeekly.com on Friday that the fight is in the works. Franklin McNeil of ESPN.com first reported the fight’s possibility on Friday.
Hughes last competed at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi where he defeated the patriarch of the academy and legend of the sport Renzo Gracie. The former welterweight king employed a smart strategy of stand-up to keep from the ground game with Gracie, and eventually tagged him in the third round to earn the TKO stoppage.
It was the second win in a row for Hughes who also defeated Matt Serra, albeit in a somewhat controversial decision at UFC 98 last May.
Since the fight ended with Gracie just two weeks ago, top student Ricardo Almeida has made it no secret that he hoped to get a shot at Hughes in his next fight. Almeida fought a very tough and game opponent in Matt Brown in his last fight out at UFC 111 in New Jersey.
Almeida looked at his best in the fight, hitting Brown with good strikes before setting up a takedown, and finishing him off with a rear naked choke in the 2nd round. The win marked Almeida’s debut in the welterweight division, and now he’s gunning for a little bit of redemption for his teacher and long time friend, Renzo Gracie.
While no bout agreements have been issued for the fight, it appears at this time the fighters have at least verbally agreed to meet on the August card. UFC 117 is set to take place in Oakland, CA with a main event featuring middleweight champion Anderson Silva against Chael Sonnen in what is sure to be a grudge match for the ages as well.