This question has been bounced around a bit lately. Kazushi Sakuraba, it seems, has gone back to his roots and started the whole puroresu thing again. Back at G-1 Climax, Sakuraba stated that he would return to the NJPW to wrestle again. No terms or commitments were given. But with the recent collapse of DREAM and Sakuraba’s interest on fighting in Japan, and Japan only, it is becoming more and more real that the masked man could have fought his last MMA fight.
Fans have been calling on Sakuraba to retire. After suffering numerous beatings inside both the cage and the ring, Sakuraba’s prime is far gone. And while he hardly ever trained to begin with, it can be assumed that his training is all but non-existent, now.
Sakuraba’s main interest is entertaining fans. Suffering beatdown after beatdown, fans began to worry about the legend, that he would suffer some sort of irreversible trauma. The possibility of this happening is very high, especially with the beatings he has taken late in his career. His head has been used as a punching bag, as well as a kicking bag, for some of the most feared strikers not in the UFC.
A few weeks ago, Keiichi Sasahara was asked on twitter by a few users whether or not Sakuraba had retired. While Japanese MMA execs are awesome at skirting a question, he had no definite answer.
In Sakuraba’s autobiography, ME, he states he wants to fight into his 50′s. When he wrote this book, however, he had yet to take the beatings he has taken. Now in his 40′s, Sakuraba is a shell of what he used to be. While still a fan favorite, it may be best that he serve his fanbase in a competition that is more on the fake side of things than the beatings he has taken.
Only time will tell what the masked man has up his sleeve, until then, we wait patiently…