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Royce Gracie named to Beckett's list of '50 Greatest Athletes of All Time'

This is my house. I built it.

What does Royce Gracie have in common with Muhammad Ali, Tiger Woods, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Pele, among others?

All five of the aforementioned athletes have been named to Beckett's "50 Greatest Athletes of All Time" list, which recognizes individual competitors for contributions to their respective sports, in terms of how their performances changed the game.

Or created it.

Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) got its start under the Gracie family back in 1993, when Royce made a mockery of competing combat sports inside the now-famous Octagon. Long before there were the unified rules of mixed martial arts (MMA), it was (almost) "anything goes," which included combatants of all shapes and sizes.

And the jiu jitsu-savvy Gracie, at least in the beginning, was able to defeat them all.

The UFC Hall of Famer, who tweeted that he was "honored" with the designation, won single-night tournaments at UFC 1, 2 and 4, which included notable wins over the formidable Ken Shamrock and Dan Severn, when both fighters were in their physical prime.

Gracie (14-2, 12 submissions) hasn't competed since avenging his loss to Kazushi Sakuraba at K-1 HERO's: "Dynamite!! USA" in June 2007, though the aging grappler had petitioned UFC President Dana White for "one more fight" in 2011 against an opponent he would not reveal.

He didn't get it, but it doesn't matter. His legacy in UFC and MMA, which places him at No. 44 on the "Greatest" list, is undisputed.

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