Photo caption: Professional UFC Fighter Chance Rencountre (Osage, Pawhuska District) defeated Kyle Stewart with a rear-naked choke in the first round of their bout at UFC Fight Night: Brooklyn. Courtesy Photo/UFC
Chance Rencountre has made history. He is the first Osage, male or female, to win a match in the UFC as a professional fighter. He also carried the Osage Nation flag into the UFC Octagon.
“I was confident, that’s the big thing, I was confident in there. I was able to come forth, throw some heat and I knew the takedown would be there eventually,” he said in a post-fight interview backstage on Jan. 19.
“Everything felt great, everything was on point. Softened him up with a couple of lefts and the rear naked choke snuck in there real easy for me. So, it was a great feeling.”
Rencountre, 32, defeated Kyle Stewart in the opening round of only his second fight in the UFC. The fight was shown live from the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, New York, on ESPN+ 1.
He took Stewart down quickly, but not before Stewart kicked him in the groin. Both fighters got tangled up and Rencountre, on Stewart’s back, hooked him with his left leg and snuck his left arm underneath Stewart’s chin and locked in for the rear naked choke. Stewart was forced to roll onto his back with Rencountre squeezing as hard as he could. He immediately tapped out.
Rencountre has been wrestling since he was in the Pawhuska Elks Takedown club as a youth. The program starts wrestlers at the age of 4 and those wrestlers eventually graduate into the Pawhuska Huskies wrestling program, which is well known throughout the state.
In high school, he was a four-year varsity starter, a four-time regional placer and a one-time state placer. He went on to wrestle for Labette Community College from 2005 to 2008. In 2008 he was named the Academic National Champion and Wrestling All-American. He continued his college wrestling career in 2010 at Fort Hays State University and was ranked eighth in the nation. In 2012 he went professional.
Since 2012, he has lived on and off in Oklahoma and California where he trains. While fighting in the Bellator MMA his fights were mostly across the Midwest. Last year he moved to California in October to train full time. Prior to training full time, he worked as a framer in construction and would try to make it to the gym to train after a 10-hour day.
Heading into the fight with Stewart, Rencountre had a four-fight winning streak before his UFC debut in June of last year but dropped a unanimous decision to Belal Muhammad after three rounds. Prior to that, a four-fight winning streak included Bellator wins over Jake Lindsey and Justin Patterson, according to reports.
Rencountre grew up in the Pawhuska Indian Village and always makes time to visit. His sister, Alexis Rencountre who is the Osage Nation’s Elections Supervisor, lives in Pawhuska with her family. While he’s home he often hosts wrestling camps for youth and helps out as much as he can. In September of last year, he hosted a wrestling camp for Osage youth in conjunction with the Osage Nation Financial Assistance office.
“All the support around here is amazing. It’s easy, being Osage, it’s awesome and it’s easy when you’ve got friends and family who help out,” he said at the time.
He said he had to get special permission from Principal Chief Geoffrey Standing Bear and write a letter to UFC officials to be allowed to carry the Osage Nation flag into the UFC Octagon. The UFC only allows fighters from other countries to carry their country’s flags and the only U.S. state flag allowed to be carried is that of Hawaii.
“It’s humbling and it makes me proud. To come from where I am and to come from that little reservation down the street to being in the UFC and carrying our flag with my tribe behind me and my people behind me,” he said at the time.
“It hasn’t hit me yet, I’m still Chance, I’m nothing special. I’m still that little Wah-Zha-Zhi from down the street. Dance hard every June and that’s it. But now, it’s coming into the limelight and I’m excited.”
Follow Chance Rencountre on Facebook at Chance “Black Eagle” Rencountre MMA.
[CORRECTION: This story was corrected to reflect that Rencountre is not the first Native American UFC fighter to carry his tribal nation's flag into the UFC Octagon. The first was Oglala Lakota UFC Fighter David Michaud in 2015.]