Over the weekend during the UFC 212 pay-per-view we learned that mixed martial arts legend Kazushi Sakuraba was going to be inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame next month. Now, the Japanese MMA star has issued a statement.
“When I was told about being inducted into the UFC Hall of Fame, my first reaction was surprise.
I stepped into the Octagon 20 years ago at UFC’s Ultimate Japan tournament and I never could have dreamed at that time that one day I would be invited to join the other legends in the Hall of Fame.
That was an important fight for me as it was my very first entry into MMA fighting. I continued to fight on a square battlefield – a white canvas mat surrounded by ropes – and you could say that is where I built my career, but it has always been my mission, not only to become the best, but to show the world the excitement and glory of MMA.
I gave everything I could in the gym, to perfect myself and my technique, so that I could give the fans spectacle they deserved. With that belief in my heart, that it was my purpose in life, I’ve never stopped pushing the limits of what I can do.
In the process, if I’ve somehow influenced the sport of MMA, it was never in my power to do it alone. I couldn’t have achieved anything without my esteemed opponents with whom I fought the fiercest of battles, without the staff who make the events happen, without the media who tell our stories, and, most importantly, without the support of the amazing fans.
It is my wish to share this honor with everyone in the Japanese martial arts world that, through PRIDE, helped establish a new era in fighting sport.”
– Kazushi Sakuraba
Sakuraba will be joined by other legendary names including Urijah Faber, Maurice Smith, and former UFC matchmaker Joe Silva.
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