If the sport of MMA continues to grow in popularity, decades from now there will be legions of fans raised only on the UFC who will have no idea who Kazushi Sakuraba was and is. I’ll feel sorry for them.
To date, Sakuraba is the greatest and perhaps bravest fighter to have come out of Japan in the sport’s history. He became a super star while fighting for the defunct Pride Fighting Championships.
Sakuraba’s prime warring days took place before an appropriate weight class came into existence for him and as a result, the natural welterweight fought light heavyweights and heavy weights. Usually, he beat them.
Sakuraba would, and sadly still does, fight anyone, anywhere and always does so in exciting and unrelenting fashion. He is a jester-samurai if there ever was one, quick with a Kimura shoulder lock or smile. Sakuraba combines excellent wrestling with dynamic submissions and effective stand up striking.
In recent years, Sakuraba has fought on past his health and has taken brutal beatings. Though they make us cringe, they do not and cannot possibly diminish this champion’s legacy.
Win, lose or draw, from lightweight to heavyweight, from Gracies and Wanderlei to “Rampage”, Belfort, Nogueira and “Cro Cop”, no one that has ever gone into the ring or cage with Kazushi Sakuraba has left it without respecting him. Enjoy the highlight videos of Sakuraba and always remember, where there’s a will, there’s a way.
More highlight videos after the jump.
Kazushi Sakuraba – Survivor:
(Via CagePotato’s Youtube page)
Tribute to Sakuraba: