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TRAINING: Wrestling, grappling, striking, and conditioning
When and why did you start training for fighting? My sister gave me a mixed martial arts video when I was 24, and when I saw fights of my weight class, I thought “I’m much stronger than these guys.” At that moment, I decided to quit wrestling and my mixed martial arts career began.
What ranks and titles have you held? K-1 Hero's 2005 Middleweight (70kg class) Grand Prix Tournament Champion
Do you have any heroes? My father, Muhammad Ali, Naseem Hamed
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? I see the UFC as the world’s best league for mixed martial arts fighters, so fighting in the UFC means a lot to me. I want to see how far I can go, especially since my class (135lbs) has just been established. I feel this is my one and only time to really challenge myself in this world.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? B.A. in Law
What was your job before you started fighting? I’ve always been a fighter. I thought about becoming a lawyer, but didn’t have to think too much.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? All Japan Freestyle Wrestling National Championships (Emperor's Cup) 1999 128 lbs: 2nd place, 2007 132 lbs: 4th place. All Japan College Wrestling Championships – 58kg Freestyle Champion. Arizona State 3-time High School Champ (130lbs class) - Freshman (date to follow) 119 lbs: 3rd place. Sophomore 125 lbs: 1st place. Junior 130 lbs: 1st place. Senior 135 lbs: 1st place. High School Wrestling Record: 112-4. In 2004, went 32-0 and had 159 takedowns.
Favorite grappling technique: All of them
Favorite Striking technique: All of them