Hatsu Hioki: No Regrets

"I will work my way up again to become a contender soon." - Hatsu Hioki
UFC featherweight Hatsu HiokiIn 2012, two fights and two wins into his UFC career, Hatsu Hioki made a decision that shocked many, turning down a shot at featherweight champion Jose Aldo, instead opting to take another fight before facing the Brazilian star.

It was a gutsy and honest move by the Nagoya native, and you had to respect it, even though his loss in his June 2012 bout against Ricardo Lamas, and two subsequent defeats to Clay Guida and Darren Elkins took him out of the 145-pound title picture and placed him in a must win situation heading into Saturday’s matchup against Ivan Menjivar. As for the fighter himself, he would do it all over again.

“I never regret my decisions,” said Hioki through manager / translator Kei Maeda. “I will work my way up again to become a contender soon.”

It’s the confidence of a fighter who has been too good for too long to let this run of bad luck keep him down. Before his recent three fight skid, the 30-year-old was unbeaten in 15 of his 16 previous bouts, with his only loss coming via split decision to UFC vet Michihiro Omigawa in 2009. In other words, his arrival in the UFC was a big deal, and he was believed to be a strong candidate to become the first Japanese fighter to win a world title in the organization.

There would be growing pains though, with Hioki calling “time lag” his biggest adjustment. It’s not something you can dismiss either, as his win over Bart Palaszewski at UFC 144 in Saitama, Japan was his most impressive Octagon victory, with his other bouts in the United States not truly showing off his complete skill set.

Saturday, he won’t be home in Japan, but competing in Macao, China, he expects to be in a locale more agreeable to him.

“The time difference is minimal and the food will be what I normally eat in Japan, so this is huge,” said Hioki, obviously pleased to be fighting in Asia this weekend. He also feels good about his chances against Menjivar, who is moving back to featherweight after a run at 135 pounds.

“He has his ways to finish fights, but I won't let him play his game,” said Hioki. “I feel I have a physical advantage and will capitalize on it.”

You might also assume that after consecutive bouts against swarming wrestlers Lamas, Guida, and Elkins, facing Menjivar will be a nice change of pace.

“A lot of people tend to think I am not fond of fighting against wrestlers,” he laughs. “But I can tell you that this fight against Ivan will be more fun to watch than my last three fights.”

When Hioki is on, he does deliver a high-level form of MMA with technical wizardry that can give anyone fits. And the scary part is that at 30, he says he’s far from done.

“Let me put it this way, I'm constantly evolving.”

First though, he needs a win, and he knows it.

“There’s definitely more weight on this one because of my recent streak of losses,” he said.
“And there are ups and downs, but I have friends and family who support me unconditionally, so that's what gets me motivated.”

So what should we expect from him in 2014?

“The resurrection of Hatsu Hioki.”  

To watch UFC Fight Night: Kim vs. Hathaway exclusively on UFC Fight Pass on Saturday, March 1, sign up here

Watch Past Fights

토요일, 11월 5
Mexico City, Mexico


한 주 쉬어가는 UFC 랭킹 발표. UFC 랭킹 보고서에서 미처 방영하지 못했던 장면들 중 가장 웃긴 부분을 선별해 공개한다. 포레스트 그리핀과 맷 파리노의 입담을 확인해볼 수 있는 드문 기회다.
2016. 10. 19
UFC 라이트 헤비급 챔피언을 지냈던 라샤드 에반스, 하지만 챔피언 등극 이전에 이미 UFC의 전설 척 리델을 UFC 88 대회에서 꺾은 바 있다. 에반스는 UFC 205 대회에서 팀 케네디를 상대한다.
2016. 10. 19
UFC Minute 리사 포일스가 소개하는 UFC 206 대회입장권 구입 특전. 캐나다 토론토에서 열리는 UFC 206 대회 메인이벤트는 다니엘 코미어-앤서니 존슨 라이트헤비급 타이틀전이다.
2016. 10. 18
UFN 새크라멘토 대회에 2개 대진이 추가되었다. UFC Minute 리사 포일스가 대진 관련 뉴스를 전한다. 알란 조우반은 마이크 페리를, 콜비 코빙턴은 브리언 바버레나를 상대한다.
2016. 10. 17