TRAINING: My training menu is always the same, but I train multiple times a day sometimes whenever I feel the menu isn't enough.
When and why did you start training for fighting? I was baseball pitcher until I was a senior in Jr. High School. When I stopped playing baseball, I got this lost and empty feeling. Maybe it was because I wasn’t satisfied with not participating in sports, which I was always very active in before. When I was feeling down and low, I watched a boxing match. At the end of the fight, the winning boxer smiled and said, “I can still fight, I still have strength left in me.” I was intrigued by this boxer, wondering what was going on with this man; how can anyone have energy left after such a furious fight? All of sudden, I felt that this is the path I should take. That’s why I joined Sagamihara Yonekura Boxing Gym right after my High School was selected and set to go. I ended up leaving High School after one year, since then I was desperate to make a living as a fighter.
What ranks and titles have you held? PRIDE Grand Prix 2005 Champion, the first PRIDE Lightweight Champion, the fifth Shooto Welterweight Champion
Do you have any heroes? Eikichi Yazawa (Japanese Musician), Manny Pacquiao
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? This is my last challenge as a fighter. I want to see how far I can go on the world stage.
What was your job before you started fighting? I never had a steady job and I never wanted a steady job. Fighting is my life and job, that’s all I ever wanted. Other than that, I held a part-time job as a life guard and I packed food.
Favorite grappling technique: Rear naked choke
Favorite Striking technique: Boxing, Body shot