Former UFC Champ Sean Sherk ready to return after five year hiatus, wants Royce Gracie fight following Bellator 149

By Jamie Penick, MMATorch Editor-in-Chief

The return of Royce Gracie on Friday night after almost nine years out of the cage was always likely to inspire others to do the same, and one former UFC Champion is ready to follow suit.

In a post on his Facebook page Saturday, Sean Sherk said he’d like to fight again, and would in fact like to face Gracie himself in a return fight.

“I’m glad Royce Gracie won that fight last night, now I’m just [going] to go ahead and say what I’ve been thinking for the last year,” Sherk wrote. “I would love the opportunity to come out of retirement and fight Royce Gracie in Bellator. I think the fans would love to see something like that and I would love the opportunity to fight a living legend.”

Sherk, 42, last fought in September of 2010, where he scored a split decision win over Evan Dunham at UFC 119. The 40-plus-fight veteran won the UFC Lightweight Championship in 2007, though he was stripped of that belt for a failed drug test, and lost his return title fight against B.J. Penn. He holds a 36-4-1 career record, with his four losses each coming against – at the time – former or future UFC Champions in Matt Hughes, Georges St-Pierre, Penn, and Frankie Edgar.

Penick’s Analysis: Given he’s much younger than Gracie, hasn’t fought at all in five years, and didn’t leave the sport on a run of bad losses, there’s less concern over him returning than many other names who may or may not pop up. It’s a little bit surprising that he hasn’t wound up back, to be honest. He was at least still thinking about it when I spoke with him at a regional event in late 2012, but delays, injuries, whatever else has kept him on the sidelines. If he’s feeling healthy and capable, he’d be much less a “freak show” than anything on display Friday night.

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