Who is Kazushi Sakuraba?

Kazushi Sakuraba is a professional MMA fighter, professional wrestler, and submission grappling wrestler from Japan. He is associated with the “Rizin Fighting Federation” and “Pro Wrestling NOAH.” Kazushi had collaborated with Takashi Sugiura to win the “GHC Tag Team Championship.” Kazushi has participated in “New Japan Pro-Wrestling” (NJPW). He also participated in the “Shoot-Style” for “UWFi” and “Kingdom Pro Wrestling” (KPW). Kazushi has also participated in the MMA fighting championships like “Pride Fighting Championships”, “Dream”, “Hero’s” and “Ultimate Fighting Championship.” Kazushi is also popular as “Gracie Killer” and “Gracie Hunter.” He got this name after he defeated members of the “Gracie Family.”

Quick Info
Full NameKazushi Sakuraba
Date Of Birth14th July 1969
Birth PlaceShowa, Akita, Japan
Parent(s)Not Known
ProfessionMixed Martial Artist
Submission Grappling wrestler
SpouseNot Known
Age51 Years
Height6 ft
Net WorthUSD $1 million

The most famous fight of Kazushi Sakuraba is the fight against “Royce Gracie.” The match was up to 90 minutes. Royce was not able to continue ahead after the severe injuries. It was the first MMA match that Royce lost. Moreover, Kazushi is famous for his amazing skills in “submission wrestling” and “catch wrestling.” He is regarded as one of the famous MMA fighters in the history of MMA. Kazushi is the first “Japanese Champion” in the history of UFC.  He is the founder of the “promotional event of “submission wrestling”; “Quintet.” He has been competing in the championship since 2018.

Kazushi Sakuraba
Image Source: Noah’s Arkive

Early Life

The birthplace of Kazushi Sakuraba is Showa, Akita, Japan. He came into the world on 14th July 1969. There are not many details about his personal life and childhood available. He used to follow Japanese professional wrestling since childhood. Kazushi used to follow “Tiger Mask manga” in the “New Japan Pro Wrestling.” He began his amateur wrestling career at the age of fifteen to pursue his childhood dream of becoming a wrestler. Kazushi also joined the “freestyle wrestling squad” of the “Chuo University.” The squad had succeeded to win a gold medal in the Olympics from players like Osamu Watanabe and Shozo Sasahara. 


Kazushi Sakuraba dropped the idea of dropping out of high school.  He attended “Chuo University.” He was in the “freestyle wrestling squad” of the university. He succeeded in winning the “East Japan Freshman Championship” during his first year. Kazushi also became the captain of the team. He succeeded to become the third runner-up in the “All-Japan Tournament” during his senior year. Kazushi was about to remain as a coach of the Chuo University, but he decided to continue his professional wrestling career.



The weight of Kazushi Sakuraba was only 68 kg during his amateur career. He received a lot of suggestions in order to increase the weight that will make it easier to compete in pro wrestling. Then he worked to gain weight. After getting inspiration from Sayama on the “Shoot wrestling” movement, Kazushi was about to the MMA organization “Pancrase.” But Kazushi decided to join the professional wrestling league “Union of Wrestling Forces International.”

Kazushi Sakuraba
Image Source: Bleacher Report

Moreover, he received the training of “striking” and “grappling” under instructor Yoji Anjo. This became his fundamental for choosing the “catch wrestling.” Kazushi received his “Muay Thai” training from instructor Bovy Chowaikung. These skills helped him to excel during the “Pride Fighting Championships.” Kazushi was one of the main trainees of Takada. He played his professional debut match on 13th August 1993. Kazushi lost the match against Steve Nelson. He spent all his rookie season in defeat. Despite getting demotivating from the losses, he worked on his freestyle wrestling skills. Kazushi won his first match against Mark Silver in October 1994. His record was only .500 but he succeeded to gain closer to the “mid-card” status by the end of the year.  

There was an inter-promotional feud between “UWFi” and the “New Japan Pro-Wrestling.” Kazushi lost a lot of “high-profile” matches in the feud. Tokimitsu Ishizawa, Shinjiro Otani, and Koji Kanemoto were some of the popular opponents of Kazushi. Although Kazushi lost the match, his “ring psychology” and “technical prowess” grabbed the attention of the management team of the “UWFi.” This opened his doors to enter the main events. Kazushi won the last match of the feud against Yoji Anjo through submission.

Kazushi Sakuraba
Image Source: MMA Weekly


Moreover, Kazushi Sakuraba began his journey in the “New Japan Pro-Wrestling” on 12th August 2012. He teamed up with Katsuyori Shibata against Wataru Inoue and Hiromu Takahashi on 23rd September. The duo also participated in the “King of Pro-Wrestling” and “Power Struggle.” Kazushi joined the “Pro Wrestling NOAH” as a full-time wrestler in 2019. He even competed in the “N1-Victory” in September 2020. His record was of three losses and two victories.

Relationship and Personal Life

Kazushi Sakuraba is a married man. He, along with his wife have a son. There are not many details of his wife available.

Social Media: Facebook, Instagram, Twitter

Kazushi Sakuraba is not active on social media platforms. He does not have an official account on social media. Although if you search his name on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook, you will encounter few accounts and fan-made pages. It seems like he loves to spend his golden time along with his family rather than posting pictures And writing comments on social media platforms.

Net Worth

The details of the net worth of Kazushi Sakurabaare not available. According to his lifestyle and achievement, he must have a net worth of about $1 million. There is no doubt that the amount of his net worth will increase in the upcoming days with his amazing fighting skills.

Nutshell Bio, Height, Weight, and Age

The nationality of Kazushi Sakuraba is Japanese. His current age is 51 years. He has an attractive height of  6 feet along with a complimentary weight of 75.7 kg. He belongs to the Japanese ethnicity.