Six years later, another member of the Gracie family will enter the Octagon.
Unbeaten grappling wizard Kron Gracie, son of legendary Rickson Gracie, has signed with the UFC and is set to make his promotional debut against Alex Caceres at UFC 233, MMA Fighting confirmed an initial report from ESPN.
UFC 233 takes place at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif., on Jan. 26, and features Henry Cejudo vs. T.J. Dillashaw for the flyweight championship.
Kron Gracie, 4-0 in MMA, will become the first member of the family to compete in the UFC since Roger Gracie’s short run with the promotion in 2013. Kron fought three times under the Rizin banner between 2015 and 2016, submitting Erson Yamamoto, Hideo Tokoro and Tatsuya Kawajiri.
The 30-year-old Brazilian trains with the likes of Nick Diaz and Nate Diaz in California and hasn’t fought since Dec. 2016. An ADCC gold medalist, Gracie has submitted the likes of Shinya Aoki, Yan Cabral, Leandro Lo, Claudio Calasans, Garry Tonon, JT Torres and Otavio Sousa in grappling and submission competition.
Since Royce Gracie’s return to the eight-sided cage in 2006 to challenge Matt Hughes in a catchweight bout, only three members of the Gracie clan fought in the promotion. In 2010, a 3-0 heavyweight Rolles Gracie was cut after suffering a second-round defeat to Joey Beltran and Renzo Gracie lost via TKO to Hughes in Abu Dhabi. Roger Gracie, who racked up a 4-1 record in Strikeforce, was let go by the UFC after dropping a decision to Tim Kennedy three years later.
Caceres (14-11, 1 no-contest) scored a decision victory over Martin Bravo in his last appearance under the UFC banner, bouncing back from a loss to Guan Wang. Caceres holds a 9-9 record since joining the company in 2011, including wins over Sergio Pettis, Cole Miller, Cole Escovedo and Damacio Page.