Renzo Gracie on upcoming Sakuraba rematch, and how the UFC lost its way

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Renzo Gracie e Sakuraba no Pride 10 em 2000 Foto Luca Atalla

Gracie and Sakuraba at Pride 10, in 2000. Luca Atalla

Renzo Gracie and Kazushi Sakuraba will meet again almost 18 years after their classic fight in Pride FC, TheBodyLock’s Jake Nichols reports.

At 51, Renzo has signed with ONE FC and, as he tells Graciemag, he can’t wait to throw down with the Japanese legend who submitted him via kimura at Pride 10 back in 2000. “The fight will be under MMA rules,” he said. “Do you think I’m getting soft or something?”

At the ONE Championship Elite Retreat in the Philippines, Gracie confirmed that he has signed with the Asian organization. ONE Championship CEO Chatri Sityodtong followed up by saying that Gracie will fight 48-year-old Sakuraba in his debut.

“I don’t know whether Sakuraba is ready, and so the date hasn’t been defined,” Gracie told us. “Maybe I’ll have one fight before fighting him.”

Gracie said he believes ONE will become the leading MMA organization because they’re doing the right thing. Later he told us: “When an organization doesn’t understand what martial arts are, they lose the thread. And that’s what happened to the UFC. They lost the essence as they came to believe that it’s all business and that money rules. We are not whores. We are fighters — men and women with morals, who spend their lives striving to do what is right and don’t sell themselves. That they don’t understand.”

In 2014, Gracie and the “Gracie Hunter” fought for 20 minutes under no-gi BJJ rules at a Metamoris show, with a submission being the only way to claim a win. The fight was a draw.

To learn BJJ straight from Gracie and his team of experts without having to leave your home, visit Gallerr Academy. 

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