"In 1980 Waldemar Santana, the man who had defeated Rickson’s father – Helio Gracie – on an historic no holds barred event, and with whom he later regained contact with, asked if the Gracie’s had anyone in their class that could challenge Rei Zulu (Santana’s student). Zulu was a huge fighter with incredible athletic ability and was undefeated in his NHB record. No one else wanted to fight him in Brazil and Waldemar who was Zulu’s promoter and instructor was finding it very hard to find matches for his fighter.
Rolls Gracie, the family’s star stud jumped on the occasion of fighting Zulu, but Helio had other plans, Rickson Gracie. Rickson was 18 years old at the time and weighed around 20kg less then Zulu, but he accepted his dad’s decision and fought. The fight was in Brasilia under Rei Zulu’s home crowd and Rickson didn’t feel 100%. Carlos Gracie, a firm believer in spiritualism and Aura, asked Rickson not to fight as he didn’t feel this was his fight. But still he went along with it.
The fight was long and hard, but Rickson finished it with a Mata Leao (RNC). Rickson later said he felt dizzy the whole fight, dizziness which was attributed to the change of air in Brasilia (much dryer then the Rio de Janeiro air he was used to).
Rickson second fight was again against Rei Zulu (Zulu King), this time in Maracanãzinho, a venue that held 40,000 seats and was packed at the time of the fight. There had been a bit of smack talk from Zulu’s camp and the Gracies arranged a second fight, this time with the added pressure of a large venue. The battle was tremendous and again Rickson was victorious by choke."