Michihiro Omigawa Fights for Japanese MMA

By Daniel Herbertson

When Michihiro Omigawa enters the cage on Saturday at UFC 126 to fight Chad Mendes, the weight of Japanese MMA will be on his shoulders. The judoka will be the only example of a born and bred Japanese fighter that has fought in the UFC in his prime, and the fight could not come at a more important time.

The days of Pride FC are long gone. We are waiting patiently to see if DREAM is also dead. We are hearing that Sengoku Raiden Championship may be losing their financial backing.

Omigawa is not just fighting for himself. He will be fighting to maintain the relevance of Japanese MMA.

First things first: Caol Uno, Kazuhiro Nakamura, Yoshiyuki Yoshida, Akihiro Gono, Yoshihiro Akiyama and most other Japanese fighters fight (or fought) in the wrong division in the UFC. If they were to stand any chance of making a run at a title, they would need to drop a weight division. This is not a new thought and has been discussed ad nauseum.

At the risk of sounding overly negative, let’s take a look at some of the individual Japanese fighters in the recent history of the UFC.


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