Renzo Gracie, 51, of Brazil recognizes the great things ONE Championship is doing to promote mixed martial arts in Asia. He was one of the panelists during the “ONE: Reign of Kings” press conference at the City of Dreams Manila in Parañaque, Metro Manila, Philippines on July 24, 2018.
“It’s my dream to fight in ONE Championship,” Gracie told the media. “They are doing a great job on this side of the world. What they do in Asia affects and benefits the entire ecosystem of the sport.”
Gracie and Yuki “Sora” Kondo, 43, of Japan will make their ONE Championship debut as they battle it out in the welterweight division “ONE: Reign of Kings,” which will take place at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila on July 27, 2018. The member of the royal family of martial arts explained why he came out of retirement to compete against a fellow martial arts legend.
“I have everything,” Gracie said. “I don’t need to be here, but I want to be part of something big.”
Now based in New Jersey, Gracie has strutted his wares in different MMA organizations throughout his 26-year professional career, but he believes that ONE Championship will be the front-runner of the sport in the coming years. Although it was more sensible for him to sign with Western MMA companies for his comeback, he believes that ONE Championship stood out as the appealing product.
ONE Championship has achieved tremendous success since its inception in 2011, establishing itself as one of the key players of the sport in the world. Since its early beginnings, the promotion has undergone a myriad of changes and developments.
From changing its name to revolutionizing the MMA weight-management system, ONE Championship’s iterations have brought it from promising young startup to global combat sports powerhouse in a matter of years. Aside from housing some of the world’s best martial artists and world champions, the promotion has also been pivotal in the development of local and homegrown talents like Eduard “Landslide” Folayang, 34, of the Philippines, Angela “Unstoppable” Lee, 21, of Singapore and “The Burmese Python” Aung La N Sang, 33, of Myanmar.
Here are Gracie and Kondo at the “ONE: Reign of Kings” press conference: