One of MMA's greatest pioneers will join fellow greats in the UFC Hall of Fame.
Japanese star Kazushi Sakuraba was announced at the latest inductee to the elite group. Sakuraba gained fame as a professional wrestler before embarking on an MMA career that went two decades.
Sakuraba made a name in mixed martial arts with wins over Carlos Newton, Vitor Belfort and Guy Mezger, but became known as "The Gracie Hunter," when he picked off Royler, Royce, Ryan and Renzo one-by-one. Sakuraba's other accomplishments includes a UFC Ultimate Japan tournament championships.
Later in his career, Sakurba would defeat Kevin Randleman, Quinton "Rampage" Jackson, Ken Shamrock, as well as longtime NJPW star Katsuyori Shibata before rejoining NJPW himself. Throughout his run, Sakuraba was a huge box office draw, and has stayed active in competitive grappling, professional wrestling and MMA for nearly 25 years.
A professional wrestler, Sakuraba is considered among the most prominent to make a splash in the MMA world. Sakuraba famously stated "In fact, pro wrestling is strong," following his UFC tournament win.
Sakuraba joins Joe Silva, Urijah Faber and Maurice Smith in the 2017 UFC Hall of Fame Class.