Brazilian martial arts legend Renzo Gracie, 51, was among the special guests at the first ever ONE Championship press conference in the country, which took place at Park Hyatt Hotel in Tokyo on August 23, 2018. He was with his brother 5th degree BJJ Black Belt Ralph Gracie, 47, and ONE Championship chairman and CEO Chatri Sityodtong.
“I believe in what ONE Championship is doing out here in Asia and I believe in Chatri’s vision for martial arts,” Renzo said during the press conference. “It warms my heart to see just how much respect we have built here as martial artists. This is what true martial arts is all about.”
“I have been to Tokyo many times and the city never fails to amaze and surprise me,” the martial arts legend added. “To be able to come full circle and bring martial arts back to Japan, it’s an amazing sight to behold. I am incredibly proud to be a part of this momentous occasion.”
Renzo made his ONE Championship debut at “ONE: Reign of Kings” on July 27, 2018 at the SM Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay City, Metro Manila, Philippines. He won via rear-naked choke submission in the second round against Yuki “Sora” Kondo, 43, of Japan.
“Japan has played a huge role in the history of martial arts on a global scale and it’s just right that it returns to glory once again,” Renzo said. “ONE Championship and Japan are a perfect fit and I foresee a bright future ahead.”
Among the Japanese MMA stars who attended the press conference were reigning ONE Strawweight World Champion Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, former ONE Lightweight World Champion Shinya “Tobikan Shudan” Aoki, 35, and former ONE World Title challengers Mei “V.V.” Yamaguchi, 35, and Ken Hasegawa, 31. The event was graced by Naito’s fellow world champions, namely ONE Women’s Atomweight World Champion Angela “Unstoppable” Lee, 22, of Singapore, ONE Bantamweight World Champion Bibiano “The Flash” Fernandes, 38, of Brazil and ONE Heavyweight World Champion Brandon “The Truth” Vera, 40, of the Philippines.
Among the special guests in the event were submission Grappling world champion Garry “The Lion Killer” Tonon, 26, of the United States, kickboxing superstar Giorgio “The Doctor” Petrosyan, 32, of Italy and Muay Thai legend Nong-O Gaiyanghadao, 31, of Thailand. Meanwhile, here is Renzo during the “ONE: Reign of Kings” post-fight conference: