Renzo Gracie celebrates his 48th birthday this March 11.
One of the most charismatic personalities of all times in Jiu-Jitsu, Renzo has a cult following of his own.
Know for being such a nice guy always eager to help those in need, Renzo is also known for being fearless on the mat or in the cage.
With a long career both in grappling and MMA, he has a collection of great moments in his life.
We selected five of those great moments accompanied by five lessons Renzo taught us along the way.
1. Renzo Gracie vs. Ricardo De La Riva, Brazilian Nationals, 1993
A classic of old school Jiu-Jitsu. Two of the most famous athletes of all times going head to head in a incredible macth
Lesson No 1: Embrace your inner lunatic – “We choke people for a living. That’s what we are! All we need to do is to embrace our inner lunatic. As you do that, you have a lifetime guarantee of fun!”
2. Renzo Gracie vs. Eugênio Tadeu, Pentagon Combat, 1997
The world famous “lights-out brawl” in Rio. Renzo’s fight with Eugênio was meant to be the high point of a long rivalry between Jiu-Jitsu and luta livre in Rio in the 80s and 90s. Unfortunately, the crowd decided to join the fun.
Lesson No2: Don’t ever back up – “The fighter has to have blood in his eyes. Now and then, things get hairy in the ring and that’s when you show your courage. Even if you are exausted, you have to keep on going forward. That’s waht is called courage and either you have it or you don’t.”
3. Renzo Gracie vs. Kazushi Sakuraba, Pride FC, 2000
The “broken arm fight” also made Renzo famous. His willingness to keep on going despite the gruesome injury made him the poster boy for brave warrior (and also for crazy man).
Lesson No3: The Gracie family history – “Whenever a Gracie fails, another Gracie comes up to straighten up the matter. That’s our history. When Waldemar Santana defeated my uncle Helio, my cousin Carlson came and beat him up.”
4. Renzo Gracie vs. Pat Miletich, IFL, 2006
The guillotine that ended the fight was born a classic. In a true clash of styles, Renzo score another point for Jiu-Jitsu.
Lesson No4: Focus on your Jiu-Jitsu – “Every Jiu-Jitsu fighter that is a refence in our sport can be a champion anywhere he/she wants. There’s nothing more challenging than what we do. If you have your head and heart in the right direction you’ll have all the weapons to win.”
5. Renzo Gracie vs. Street Muggers, NYC, 2012
He took social media to whole different level with what probably was the first ever live feed of a (near) mugging. Soon enough the bad guys found out how much of a bad decision they had made when they chose their potential victim.
Lesson No5: Cherish the evolution of Jiu-Jitsu – “I’m a fan of our system of self-defense and fighting and frankly I don’t care from where the next evolution comes from, either way Jiu-Jitsu is getting the attention it deserves.”
What about you, dear reader? What was your favorite Renzo moment?