Kazushi Sakuraba To Enter UFC Hall of Fame
Legendary Japanese mixed martial artist and pro wrestler Kazushi Sakuraba, known for his time in PRIDE and the early days of UFC, will be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame as part of its 2017 class.
Sakuraba is famously known as the "Gracie Hunter" or "Gracie Killer" due to his wins over four members of the legendary Gracie family: Royler, Renzo, Ryan and Royce — the latter of which saw the two compete in the longest MMA bout in history
Sakuraba first burst onto the MMA scene in 1996, as part of the UFC’s Ultimate Japan heavyweight tournament, one of the last one-night tournaments the UFC ever held. This made him the first Japanese champion in UFC history.
His famous bout with Royce Gracie as part of the PRIDE 2000 Openweight Grand Prix quarterfinals. The fight went a full 90 minutes before Royce finally allowed for the towel to be thrown in. Though Sakuraba did not win the tournament, losing in the next round, the bout was named Fight of the Year for 2000.
In addition to his four wins over the Gracie family, Sakuraba holds wins over the likes of Carlos Newton, Vitor Belfort, Quinton Jackson, Kevin Randleman, and Ken Shamrock.
Sakuraba will be inducted into the pioneer wing of the UFC’s Hall of Fame this year, along with Maurice Smith. In addition, Urijah Faber will be inducted into the modern wing and Joe Silva will be inducted into the contributor wing.