Report: Tatsuya Kawajiri and Katsunori Kikuno sign with UFC

Showtime Sports

It appears that two of the top Japanese fighters in the world have finally signed with the UFC.

If you're a fan of Japanese MMA, you're going to like this news. The Fight Nation and MMA Junkie are reporting that two of the best Japanese fighters in the world, Tatsuya Kawajiri and Katsunori Kikuno, have agreed to contracts with the UFC. They could debut as early as the January card in Singapore.

Kawajiri (32-7-2) was a lightweight star for a long time, winning the Shooto lightweight title and competing in Pride six times. He had competed for the Pride, Dream, and Strikeforce lightweight championships before finally dropping to featherweight in 2011, where he has won four straight fights. He hasn't fought since a decision win over Michihiro Omigawa at Dream 18 on New Years Eve.

Kikuno (21-5-2) has spent most of his career in the DEEP organization, holding their lightweight title. He also fought five times in Dream. He has 12 knockouts in his 21 wins and is known for his unique standup style.

I'm not going to lie here, I'm tremendously excited about this. Crusher has been one of my favorite fighters for a very long time and while some might see this as something that happened way too late (Kawajiri's 35 now) I feel like he can definitely be a force in the UFC's featherweight division. And Kikuno's style will quickly make him a fan favorite.


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