The Gracie family tree has deep roots in Brazilian jiu-jitsu and mixed martial arts. Here's the issue with that, though: that tree is planted in Matt Hughes' backyard.

Already holding wins over the legend Royce Gracie and Matt Serra, the first American to receive a black belt in BJJ from Renzo Gracie, Hughes added to his impressive dominance over the family at UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi.

Hughes beat Renzo Gracie by TKO with 20 seconds left in the third round of their welterweight bout. It was Hughes' first fight since May 2009 when he beat Serra. It was Gracie's first bout in three years, and his first in the UFC.

Hughes connected with a big right hand midway through the third round, then went to town, picking Gracie apart with kicks and punches until referee Herb Dean stepped in to stop the bout.

Gracie, 43, is the most affable personality in mixed martial arts. Good-natured, funny, intelligent about MMA and a great ambassador of the sport. He actually asked Hughes to help pick him up after a leg kick knocked him down. Surprisingly, Hughes did it. The fight was pretty much decided at the point anyway.

Asked after the fight if he would have preferred to fight someone with less of a pedigree than Hughes, Gracie said "What kind of fighter would I be if I did that?"

That's why we love Gracie, who has deep roots in Abu Dhabi, having taught BJJ to just about everyone in the United Arab Emirates.

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Gracie (13-7-1) looked pretty good in his return to competitive fighting after taking three years off to build his BJJ academies, at least in the first two rounds. But Hughes (45-7) is a legend in MMA. A former welterweight champion who defended his title seven straight times. It's hard to roll off the couch and beat that type of pedigree.

At age 36, Hughes has only fought three times in three years. Might he give it one more shot and step up to a more regular training regimen and fighting schedule? Surely, there's another Gracie somewhere he could fight.

 

PHOTOS: UFC 112 in Abu Dhabi