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Royce Gracie Revealed His Choice For “Best Fighter Ever”

Royce Gracie Revealed His Choice For “Best Fighter Ever”

In a recent interview with TalkSport, Royce Gracie revealed his selection for the ‘best fighter ever, and his choice was quite unexpected. He didn’t opt for a UFC fighter, nor did he select anyone who has been active in any combat sport in recent decades. He didn’t hesitate in giving his answer, and it was clear from the start that he would choose his father, Helio Gracie. 

Even though Helio Gracie’s athletic peak was well before major organizations like the UFC were established, he still participated in several fights. Helio Gracie had numerous fights from 1932 to 1967, but only 19 bouts are well-documented and verified. His official record was 9-2-8, as he consistently fought without any scoring systems or judges to decide the result if the fight reached the end. Royce Gracie was clear about his perception of his father’s position as the ‘best fighter ever’ in his view:

“He was way ahead. My father was way ahead of everybody, not as a fighter but as a self-defence style.”

Not only were judges absent in those days, but Royce and Helio Gracie also share a common aspect. All of Helio’s matches were organized without the implementation of weight categories, much like how Royce Gracie competed in UFC 1. This meant that Helio was frequently the smaller competitor in his matches, which obviously works to his advantage when evaluating his achievements:

“You put a smaller guy and he defends himself against somebody who is bigger and stronger.”

However, it wasn’t just about weight categories; those early bouts that served as the forerunners to contemporary MMA often had fewer rules than UFC 1. For Royce Gracie, the fact that Helio competed without the majority of the regulations that constitute modern MMA is a significant reason why he holds him in such high esteem:

“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.”

There are numerous iconic fighters such as Khabib Nurmagomedov, Anderson Silva, and even Royce Gracie himself. However, when it comes to the ‘greatest fighter of all time’, Royce Gracie has a clear choice:

“It was my father; he was ahead of everybody.”

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