Why Royce Gracie Is the Most Influential MMA Fighter of All Time

Anthony Fusco@fusconation16Correspondent IIISeptember 24, 2012

I am confident when I say that without Royce and the rest of the Gracie family, the UFC would not have grown as it has today.

At UFC 1, when Royce made his debut, no one thought much about him. He was a small, almost unknown Brazilian fighter.

But three submissions later, you'd better believe people were put on notice. Royce dominated UFC 1. He submitted all three of his opponents en route to becoming the tournament winner.

Royce used his Gracie jiu-jitsu style to defeat his opponents. Fans and fighters alike had never seen a style so fluid and unassuming, yet so devastatingly effective. Suddenly it didn't matter who hit harder or who had the better wrestling or striking.

Because Royce beat them all.

Royce entered UFC 2 as a dangerous but still underrated threat. He showed up that night and had his most impressive outing yet the night he won UFC 2. He again submitted all four of his opponents, who had significant height and weight advantages on him.

Royce was well on his way to winning the third UFC tournament, but he had to pull out with dehydration after his win against Kimo Leopoldo. Royce came roaring back by winning UFC 4 by submitting three opponents, the last of whom was Dan "The Beast" Severn.

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Royce came into the sport when it had no rules, time limits or weight classes. He proved that he could hang with the best fighters in the world, despite being smaller than the majority of them.

Without Royce Gracie and his accomplishments in the Octagon through UFC 1 to 4, you probably wouldn't be reading this right now.

Nowadays it's impossible for a fighter not to know some Brazilian jiu-jitsu, which was made popular and effective by the Gracie family. Royce brought submissions, and new techniques never-before seen, into MMA competitions. Royce single-handedly revolutionized the sport and helped to bring legitimacy to a sport in its infancy.

Those are the reasons that Royce Gracie is the most influential MMA fighter of all time. He is seen as one of the main reasons that Brazilian jiu-jitsu and MMA have thrived today.

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