Just as two fighting legends even the score between one another with Randy Couture’s UFC 109 thrashing of Mark “The Hammer” Coleman, another pair of all time greats step their training up a notch in preparation for UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi, as Matt Hughes and Renzo Gracie are all set to wage battle on April 10.
If there was one man on this planet best suited to give a thorough and experience driven analysis of the match-up, it would undoubtedly be fellow pioneer of the sport, Pat Miletich.
Aside from taking Matt Hughes under his wing and guiding the Illinois born and raised country boy to a pair of UFC welterweight championships before the pair split ways in 2007, “The Croatian Sensation” has the benefit of having been one of the last opponents for the forty-two year old Gracie to square off with (Miletich wound up on the losing end of a picture perfect guillotine choke at the hands of Renzo during the duo’s 2006 IFL meeting).
That’s why FiveOuncesofPain.com made it a point to catch up with Pat to gather his thoughts on the upcoming tussle between two of the greatest fighters in the modern history of mixed martial arts.
“I think the fight with Renzo can be a dangerous fight for Matt,” explained Miletich. “Renzo is much stronger than he looks. He has very good grip strength. Renzo has a really powerful grip, and of course he has really good submissions.”
Of course Pat knows from experience just how surprisingly lethal Renzo’s submission arsenal can be, but one thing to take note of is the founder of Miletich Fighting Systems’ utmost respect for Gracie in the stand up department.
“He didn’t do it with me very much, but with most of the other guys Renzo is more than willing to stand and trade with you,” said Miletich. “Matt’s not a guy that is the greatest boxer in the world. He does hit hard, but he’s not a super technical striker.”
In no surprise, Miletich seems to be expecting more of a chess match between a pair of “thinking man’s fighters”.
“I think there are some traps that Renzo might lay for him in that fight,” said Pat. “Renzo’s a smart guy and Matt’s a smart guy, so it’s a really cool match-up.”
Of course there’s the one sided beatdown that Hughes put on Royce Gracie not so long ago to consider, but Miletich believes that you shouldn’t read too much into that bout, explaining, “Renzo’s a totally different fighter than Royce. Renzo is, in my mind – no disrespect to Royce – five times the fighter Royce is.
“Quite frankly, Renzo doesn’t give a s*** who he fights. He’ll fight, because he’s a fighter. That’s just the way he is. With Renzo, you throw a name in front of him and he says, ‘Sure. I’ll fight him. No problem’. That’s just the way he is.”
While not going as far to offer up a prediction on the upcoming match-up between two men he has a tremendous amount of respect and admiration for, Miletich came as close as he would to making a pick during the conversation when pointing to one deciding factor that could pose the potential to be the deal sealer in the bout.
“I think Matt just needs to basically out-muscle Renzo and wear him out,” said Miletich in closing. “I know that Matt’s endurance will probably be better than Renzo’s, and that’s where the fight could be won.”