Both Mike Tyson and Royce Gracie have marked the history of their respective sports: Boxing for Tyson and MMA for Gracie.
Back in 1993 Royce Gracie was the top man in the UFC and dominating the early Mixed Martial Arts scene with his Jiu Jitsu. Rorion Gracie famously claimed a blue belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu could beat Mike Tyson in an MMA fight. So what could Royce do?
Many considered Tyson the most dangerous man in the world at the time.
In a recent appearance on UFC Tonight, the former boxing heavyweight champion said that’s not the case, Royce Gracie would have beaten him.
Speaking to UFC tonight a number of years ago, Tyson answered the question as wether he would be able to beat Royce Gracie in an MMA fight:
“Well, in ’93, I was in prison, so there wouldn’t have been a fight, but there is no way I would have won. I had no idea what was going on with that type of fighting and would’ve been taken by surprise”, Tyson said.
“I would have had to train in that particular art of fighting before that happened. That’s a particular art. You’re not going to go in there with just your hand and not have a great ground game. You also need a great wrestling game to be successful, and you won’t be exciting, as well. You have to have both games. You have to know how to wrestle and box. That’s just the truth.
Tyson admitted that if he had been offered the opportunity to compete in the first tournament (and if he wasn’t in prison) his ego would likely have forced him to accept.
“My ego would have told me I’m the best fighter in the world with all the particular fighting aspects, and I would have tried it.”
The UFC 1 fight between Royce Gracie and boxer Art Jimmerson: