Suzette Sadowski

Suzette Sadowski

Modified & Updated: 08 Sep 2023


Kazushi Sakuraba, also known as “The Gracie Hunter,” is a legendary figure in the world of mixed martial arts (MMA). With a career spanning over two decades, Sakuraba has left an indelible mark on the sport, earning a reputation as one of the greatest Japanese fighters of all time. His unique fighting style, incredible endurance, and fearless mentality have made him a fan favorite around the globe.

In this article, we will delve into the fascinating life and career of Kazushi Sakuraba. From his humble beginnings to his astounding achievements in the ring, we will explore the sixteen most intriguing facts about this remarkable athlete. Whether you’re a die-hard MMA enthusiast or simply curious about the sport, get ready to be captivated by the extraordinary journey of Kazushi Sakuraba.

Table of Contents

Kazushi Sakuraba is a legendary Japanese mixed martial artist.

Kazushi Sakuraba, often referred to as the “Gracie Hunter,” is widely regarded as one of the greatest fighters in the history of MMA.

He was born on July 14, 1969, in Japan.

Kazushi Sakuraba was born on July 14, 1969, in Funabashi, Chiba, Japan, where he developed a passion for martial arts from a young age.

Sakuraba made his professional MMA debut in 1996.

In 1996, Kazushi Sakuraba stepped into the octagon for his first professional MMA bout, marking the beginning of a remarkable career.

He is known for his unorthodox fighting style.

Kazushi Sakuraba became renowned for his unique and unpredictable fighting style, incorporating elements of catch wrestling, Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and striking techniques.

Sakuraba holds wins over several high-profile opponents.

Throughout his career, Kazushi Sakuraba secured victories over esteemed fighters such as Royce Gracie, Renzo Gracie, Vitor Belfort, and Quinton “Rampage” Jackson.

He has fought in multiple weight classes.

Kazushi Sakuraba showcased his versatility by competing in various weight divisions, from lightweight to heavyweight, leaving a lasting impact in each category.

Sakuraba had a memorable rivalry with the Gracie family.

Kazushi Sakuraba’s battles with members of the Gracie family, particularly Royce and Renzo Gracie, are legendary in the world of MMA and have cemented his legacy as the “Gracie Hunter.”

He holds the record for the longest MMA fight in history.

In 2000, Kazushi Sakuraba engaged in an epic clash with Royce Gracie that lasted for an astounding 90 minutes, showcasing his incredible stamina and determination.

Sakuraba is widely respected for his sportsmanship.

Kazushi Sakuraba is revered for his respectful demeanor, humility, and admiration for his opponents, earning him the respect and admiration of fans and fighters alike.

He had a successful professional wrestling career.

Outside of MMA, Kazushi Sakuraba ventured into professional wrestling, making a name for himself in the ring with his charismatic personality and in-ring skills.

Sakuraba retired from professional MMA in 2015.

In 2015, after a storied career spanning nearly two decades, Kazushi Sakuraba decided to hang up his gloves, leaving behind an indelible mark on the sport.

He was inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame in 2017.

In recognition of his exceptional contributions to MMA, Kazushi Sakuraba was honored with induction into the prestigious UFC Hall of Fame in 2017.

Sakuraba continues to inspire the next generation of fighters.

Even in retirement, Kazushi Sakuraba serves as an inspiration to aspiring fighters, embodying the spirit of perseverance, dedication, and sportsmanship.

He remains an influential figure in Japanese MMA.

Kazushi Sakuraba’s impact on Japanese MMA cannot be overstated, as his legendary status continues to resonate with fans and fighters in his home country.

Sakuraba has a passionate fan base worldwide.

Kazushi Sakuraba’s skills, charisma, and warrior spirit have earned him a dedicated fan base that extends beyond Japan, with supporters around the globe.

He has left a lasting legacy in the world of combat sports.

Kazushi Sakuraba’s accomplishments, impact, and contributions to MMA and professional wrestling have solidified his place as one of the most influential figures in combat sports history.


In conclusion, Kazushi Sakuraba is undoubtedly a legendary figure in the world of mixed martial arts. With an impressive career spanning over two decades, Sakuraba has left a lasting impact on the sport. From his incredible grappling skills to his unyielding determination, he has captivated fans all over the world.Through this article, we have learned 16 fascinating facts about Kazushi Sakuraba, shedding light on his early life, accomplishments, and unique fighting style. From his memorable battles against legendary fighters to his pioneering efforts in promoting the sport in Japan, Sakuraba’s contributions to MMA are truly commendable.Whether you are a longtime fan or just discovering the sport, understanding the story and legacy of Kazushi Sakuraba is essential. His relentless spirit, technical prowess, and unmatched charisma make him a true icon in the world of martial arts.


1. What weight class did Kazushi Sakuraba compete in?

Kazushi Sakuraba primarily competed as a middleweight. However, he also fought in various weight classes throughout his career, including light heavyweight and heavyweight.

2. How many fights did Kazushi Sakuraba win?

Kazushi Sakuraba has an impressive record, with a total of 26 wins in his professional MMA career.

3. What is Kazushi Sakuraba’s fighting style?

Sakuraba is renowned for his exceptional grappling abilities, often utilizing catch wrestling and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu techniques in his fights.

4. Has Kazushi Sakuraba ever fought in the UFC?

No, Kazushi Sakuraba has never fought in the UFC. However, he has competed in other notable organizations, including PRIDE FC and RIZIN.

5. What is Kazushi Sakuraba’s nickname?

Kazushi Sakuraba is commonly referred to as “The Gracie Hunter” due to his victories over several members of the Gracie family, who are renowned for their Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu skills.