Kron Gracie is making his return to professional MMA at UFC 288 on May 6th, 2023 after an extensive period of almost four years away from the sport. He was a phenomenal grappler long before he ever set foot in the cage, with the peak of his grappling career coming in 2013 when he won an ADCC world championship at 77kg. He quickly turned into a top prospect in MMA too by racking up a 4-0 professional record with 4 submission wins and being signed to the UFC as a result. Although he won his promotional debut by submission as well, he lost for the first time against Cub Swanson in back in 2019 and hasn’t been seen in the octagon since.
It was a pretty lacklustre performance for him at the time and other members of his family criticised him for attempting to strike with Swanson instead of using his superior grappling. It wasn’t just any other people that shared the Gracie surname either, even his father Rickson was open about some of the flaws in Kron’s approach to that fight. While those kinds of expectations and public criticism can be tough for any fighter to deal with, that gets magnified ten-fold for a member of the Gracie family. After all, the family is almost synonymous with the sport and just by virtue of their birth there tends to be a lot more attention focused on them, for better or for worse.
Kron Gracie opened up about his return to professional MMA and his reasons for staying away from the sport for four years in a recent interview with Trocação Franca:
“It’s not something I chose, to have a break without fighting, but life happens. When you’re fighting and competing since you were 9, that’s something I had to do to get to this point. This time I had to learn to live in the mountains. And I have a dog now. It took a while for me to learn to live in the mountains, the cold weather. It’s very different and it takes time. The gym had to get going and people around me needed to be in a position to help me. I did what I had to do and now I’m ready to fight.”
The mountains that Kron Gracie describes living in before his return to the sport are actually in Montana, where he decided to open a new gym during his time away from professional MMA competition.