photo 1 of 49
TRAINING: I do MMA sparring three times a week. Besides that, I do karate training and physical strength training.
When and why did you start training to become a fighter? When I was 18 (in 2000) I watched PRIDE on TV, then I decided to become a MMA fighter. But for five years, I trained in Kyokushin Karate, then at age 23 (in 2005) I joined Tsuyoshi "TK" Kosaka's MMA gym.
What ranks and titles have you held? I became DEEP lightweight champion by winning DEEP lightweight tournament in 2009.
Do you have any heroes? I don't really have anyone in particular when it comes to my "ideal fighter." But I want to be a fighter that has an aura of a man with a real sword.
What does it mean for you to fight in the UFC? I started Kakutougi (martial arts) because I wanted to be strong. And now, I am a professional, therefore, I want to be the number one. There is no doubt that the current champion in the UFC is the world's number one fighter. That's why my goal is to become UFC champion. Luckily, I received an offer when I was feeling that I reached the level where I am confident about fighting in the UFC, so I was thrilled when I heard about the offer.
Did you go to college and if so what degree did you earn? No.
What was your job before you started fighting? I teach Karate.
Specific accomplishments in amateur competition? I was on the judo team in junior high and high school. Then after graduating from high school, I joined Kyokushin Karate and trained there for five years.
Favorite striking technique: "Crescent Moon" Kick - it’s my original karate kick to the body. I KO'd many with this kick.