Renzo Gracie just confirmed rumors that he has signed to fight Kazushi Sakuraba in One FC event. The rematch 18 years in the making, their first match was in August 2000, in Pride 10. Word of the rematch was leaked by Renzo who was attending One Elite Retreat in the Philippines. Soon after Chatri Sityodtong, Chairman and CEO of ONE Championship, confirmed Renzo’s statement stating that Gracie will compete against Kazushi Sakuraba in his debut with the organization.
Here is Renzo’s statement:
I’m here in the Philippines. I came at the request of my pupil Chatri to watch another event by ONE FC, the biggest MMA organization in Asia, and eventually the world.
You may think I’m crazy, that a new outfit can’t rival the UFC, but I believe in willpower and purpose — which the ONE FC team has a lot of. Meanwhile, the UFC has become strictly a business.
I was invited to have a new fight with my old rival Kazushi Sakuraba, and depending on his availability, we will be fighting again soon.
In March I will be 51 years old, and many people ask whether it’s time I retired.
If it were for the money or for the vanity of victory, certainly I would be retired. But there is something more important than that, which makes me want to keep going forward for as long as possible.
Each bout is an opportunity to learn more Jiu-Jitsu. Both during an intense training camp, but especially during the fight, where you need to execute what you practiced in a moment of maximum stress.
My ultimate goal is to teach BJJ to students like you, and to my family. And fights are efficient vehicles of absorption of knowledge, and after this new fight, I will have more experience to pass on.
In my previous fight with Sakuraba, all was going well until the final moment, when I underestimated his strongest move. And I paid dearly for it, and was left applauding my opponent’s efficiency.
The great judoka Yasuhiro Yamashita once said:
Your opponent is not as weak as you think. Your opponent is not as strong as you think.
I agree. Our greatest challenge is to always stay confident enough to win, and cautious enough not to be defeated. I failed in the second part of the challenge, for at no point did I think I could be submitted.
Anyway, our mission is far from over, and I’m happy to have a new opportunity to test myself 18 years after our first encounter.
I’m counting on you in this new adventure.