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Fight Facts Retrospective is a branch of the Fight Facts series
that chronicles the accomplishments and achievements of legendary
fighters and historic promotions. Join us as we celebrate the
career of the first Ultimate Fighting Championship Hall of Famer,
Gracie, ahead of the 25th anniversary of his historic battle
for the inaugural UFC superfight title.
The original “ultimate fighter,” Gracie proved not only that
Brazilian jiu-jitsu was essential in the sport of MMA, but that
size matters not. Never heavier than 191 pounds, Gracie took on
larger and stronger men, both young and old, and put them in their
place. Although he only competed 20 times as a professional, his
career spanned an incredible 23 years and provided one lengthy
* * *
A TRUE OG: Carrying a Sherdog Fight Finder ID
number of 19, Gracie is by far the earliest competitor ever entered
into the Fight Finder database who received attention from the
Fight Facts Retrospective series. Should multiple-time opponent
Shamrock become the study of such a piece, his number of four
is only later than Brian
Hawkins, Kurt Rojo and
GRACED WITH HIS PRESENCE: Across his 20-fight
career, Gracie retired with 15 victories and sported an 87 percent
finish rate, with all 13 of those finishes taking place in the
first round. However, Gracie operated at a time when the UFC and
Pride Fighting Championships did not implement rounds for his
MR. UFC: Gracie is the only fighter to appear at
each of the first five UFC events. No other athlete competed at
more than three of those cards (Shamrock).
NO SUCH THING AS JUDGES: The first 11 bouts in
Gracie’s career all ended with his opponent tapping out. The first
time he went the distance came in his rematch with Shamrock at UFC
5. Gracie still holds the all-time UFC record for the most
consecutive stoppage victories.
KEEPING IT BRAZILIAN: Gracie held the record for
the most submissions in promotional history with 10, not accounting
for his strike-induced submission stoppage of Patrick
Smith. That record stood from 1995 until 2018, when Charles
Oliveira surpassed it by submitting Christos
Giagos at UFC Fight Night 137. “Do Bronx” has since extended
that record with three more submissions.
ROYCE THE ROCKSTAR: Gracie’s 11-fight winning
streak from 1993-95 stood as the longest in the promotion’s history
until he was passed by Anderson
Silva at UFC 117 in 2010.
SATURDAY NIGHT’S ALRIGHT FOUR FIGHTING: Becoming
the first and only fighter to ever compete in and win four UFC
bouts in a single night, Gracie submitted his way through four
opponents at UFC 2 to prevail in the 16-man, one-night
GRAND VIZIER OF THE GRAND PRIX: The winner of
three UFC tournaments, Gracie is the only fighter in UFC history to
win that many. The Brazilian was well on his way to a fourth at UFC
3, but after tapping Kimo Leopoldo
with an armbar, he withdrew due to exhaustion. This allowed the
unlikeliest of outcomes, as alternate Steve Jennum
won that tournament by only fighting once.
PASS IT ON: While sporting a gi for his early UFC
bouts, Gracie secured the first and second lapel choke finishes in
company history by tapping Remco Pardoel
Ichihara. The only other submission of its type in promotional
history came by the aforementioned Pardoel at UFC 7.
THE FIRST SUPERFIGHT: Prior to the UFC creating
weight classes, the promotion attempted to make the superfight
championship, where a champion could take on the winners of future
tournaments. The first fight for this belt came at UFC 5 in 1995
between Gracie and Shamrock, and they fought to a draw.
NEVER AGAIN, SAID THE UFC: In the superfight
championship bout, Gracie took part in the longest match in UFC
history when he squared off with Shamrock. With no rounds created,
a 30-minute time limit was enacted for this title fight. The tilt
went the full 30 minutes but inadvertently continued on for an
additional minute before it was called. Out of confusion of what to
do next, an additional five-minute overtime was implemented. When
neither man won, this 36-minute affair was declared a draw.
FEATURE-LENGTH FISTICUFFS: Not to be outdone, five
years later, Gracie participated in the Pride 2000 openweight grand
prix. Taking on Kazushi
Sakuraba at the Pride Grand Prix 2000 Finals, the two agreed on
modified rules under which there were an unlimited number of
15-minute rounds, as well as no stoppages from the referee. After
an unprecedented 90-minute battle—the longest in major MMA
history—Gracie’s corner threw in the towel after the sixth round
for his first career defeat.
THE PRIDE OF A FIGHTER: Although not the first,
Gracie is one of the earlier fighters to ever record wins in both
the UFC and Pride. The first to do so was Gary
Goodridge, who knocked out Oleg Taktarov
at Pride 1 after winning three times in the UFC cage.
GRACIE VS. GOLIATH: In one of the largest size
differences in MMA history, a 190.5-pound Gracie took on the
451-pound Chad Rowan at
K-1 Premium 2004 Dynamite!! Outweighed by 260.5 pounds, Gracie
tapped his massive opponent with an omoplata wrist lock in just
over two minutes.
THE RETURN OF THE GRACIE: After over 21 years away
from the UFC, Gracie returned at UFC 60 to take on
then-welterweight champion Matt Hughes.
In that 175-pound catchweight contest, Hughes nearly landed a
submission on Gracie before ending the fight by technical knockout.
It marked the first time Gracie had been stopped due to strikes in
WHO DROPPED THE BALL?: Following his unsuccessful
return to the Octagon, Gracie again competed at a Dynamite event in
2007, when he met Sakuraba once more. Although Gracie took home a
unanimous decision win, he tested positive for steroids. However,
the official result was not changed.
THE TRILOGY: Gracie and Shamrock faced one another
three times throughout their legendary careers. They first met at
UFC 1 and then again at UFC 5, and nearly 21 years later, they came
to blows for a third time in Bellator
MMA. Headlining Bellator 149, Gracie dispatched Shamrock and
concluded the trilogy with two wins and a draw against “The World’s
Most Dangerous Man.”
I’LL SEE YOU IN ANOTHER LIFE, WHEN WE ARE BOTH
CATS: The length of time spanning Gracie-Shamrock matchups
from April 1995 to February 2016—20 years, 10 months—is the longest
gap between rematches in major MMA history.
RIGHT IN THE SHAMROCKS: Gracie scored the first
knockout of his career—not counting when he made the aforementioned
Smith tap to strikes—when he finished Shamrock at Bellator 149.
FIRST-BALLOT GANG: Along with Shamrock, Gracie was
inducted into the first class of the UFC Hall of Fame at UFC 45 in
SUPER NECESSARY DRAWS: Gracie fought to three
draws throughout his career, and all three were a result of
rulesets that did not allow for judges’ decisions. In the event
that the fight went the full length, it was automatically declared
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