The Greatest Gracie? One on One with Rickson

Nov 27, 2008

Even at 50, Rickson Gracie stokes the flames of the mixed martial arts world, inspiring passion, controversy and debate.

Gracie (11-0) -- who also claims an unbeaten record in more than 400 jiu-jitsu, freestyle wrestling, sambo and no holds barred matches -- has not competed in MMA since he choked Masakatsu Funaki unconscious with a rear-naked choke eight years ago in Japan. Might a return be in the offing?

“I don’t see the possibility for a last fight,” Gracie told in an exclusive interview. “I feel like every day is a last chance for me to compete again, and I feel very good about it because I feel I have nothing to prove.”

Gracie competed in his first professional MMA match in 1980, some 13 years before his younger brother, Royce, burst on the scene at UFC 1 and changed the combat sports landscape forever. He admits the recent growth of the sport caught him a bit off guard.

“Back when we started in the UFC and then Pride, it was unpredictable that MMA could get the way it is right now and [hold] the prospect to become even much bigger,” he said. “Now you see MMA in the four corners of the world. I’m impressed with the evolutionary process of MMA.”

Check out Marcelo Alonso’s full interview to watch Gracie discuss Brazilian jiu-jitsu’s current place in MMA, what could lure him back for one last fight, whom he believes to be the top pound-for-pound fighter in the sport and what he believes are the keys to beating World Association of Mixed Martial Arts heavyweight champion Fedor Emelianenko.

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