Royce Gracie, a name synonymous with the foundations of mixed martial arts (MMA), revolutionized the sport by showcasing the effectiveness of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
His legendary victories in the first, second, and fourth UFC tournaments, where he overcame opponents much larger than himself, cemented his status in the sport.
And, while the MMA world has seen exceptional fighters – like Georges St-Pierre, Anderson Silva, Jon Jones, Khabib Nurmagomedov, and Conor McGregor – who are often mentioned in discussions about the greatest of all time…
Royce Gracie’s choice for the “GOAT title” is somewhat different.
Namely, he selects his father – Helio Gracie – as the greatest to ever do it.
Here’s what he had to say in an interview with TalkSport:
He was way ahead. My father was way ahead of everybody, not as a fighter but as a self-defense style.
You put a smaller guy and he defends himself against somebody who is bigger and stronger.
You see, it’s not the same way of fighting. You take all the rules out. No time limit, no gloves, no weight divisions, fighting three or four fights in one night.
It was my father; he was ahead of everybody.
— Rener Gracie (@RenerGracie) October 1, 2023