For those that witnessed it, Tatsuya Kawajiri's UFC debut was a lot of fun. A back and forth first round turned into a dominant second which saw Kawajiri get the technical sub (although technically Sean Soriano tapped). His post fight speech was a memorable one and showed that Kawajiri is looking to make his mark, not just as an exciting fighter, but as a fighter capable of reaching out to English speaking audiences and making himself known.
He's continued reaching out to international fans with his latest post on Facebook, giving his thoughts on his UFC debut. It's a surprisingly introspective and honest account of his first UFC fight and his performance that night. And, after reading it, I have to admit I'm suddenly finding myself much more invested in watching him next time out:
The UFC's Singapore event. I was able to get a victory.
Thank you for all the support and messages.
This time really was frightening. My first match in one year. And that match being in the UFC, the pinnacle of MMA. To be honest from the moment I entered the octagon to win the buzzer sounded I couldn't envision myself winning.
Really it was a fight between me and my own weakness during the match. So many times I almost gave out.
At the start I was so stiff. I went for a tackle from far out like an amateur. My opponent's right straight that I couldn't see or react to.
Now thinking back on it I was so stiff it was funny.
my strategy for this match was just to keep on attacking.
For a fighter like me who doesn't have real talent the only thing I can do is keep on attacking and get the win even if it's not pretty. I didn't think I'd be able to overwhelm him and win easily. I figured he'd probably catch me with a good punch or kick and send me reeling I decided if he caught me like that hi would latch onto him without giving backing down or giving up even if it looked pathetic and would keep on attacking.
If he blocked me once I would attack twice. If he blocked me 10 times I would attack 11. If he blocked me 100 times I would attack 101 times.
At any rate no matter how many times he stop me I would keep my concentration and keep moving forward without giving up.
I told my cornerman that and asked him to push me when it seemed like my drive was weakening.
I trained my spirit and my stamina so that the matter how hard it was, no matter how out of breath I got I could still keep on fighting.
One more thing. During the match I was able to keep my composure and change my strategy.
In the beginning of the first round I lost my cool while continuously attacking and I couldn't see my opponents strikes at all. So my distance and timing was off and my attacks didn't flow smoothly. But I was able to change that in the middle of my match. this was thanks to the experience I got from the 40+ matches I've fought so far.
Really disappointed that I couldn't get fight of the night or submission of the night... That was my #1 motivation and I was aiming to get them with both the content of my fight and my broken English mic performance afterwards.
That'll have to wait until the next opportunity. Next I want to make my way to America and fight you know UFC number series event. With a performance like today I probably won't be able to get a fight with a top 10 fighter. But the stronger my opponent is the stronger I can become. I can make a stronger me.
I want to keep on moving forward. No using my age as an excuse.
My cornerman who traveled with me on my trip to Singapore, Ryuta-San really helped me. When it seemed like Fear would crush my heart, Ryuta-San helped me relax and be myself with just a smile. Thank you Ryuta-San.
I'm grateful to all who gave me support. It all became my strength. Arigatogozaimashita. Thank you.
Kawajiri has already entered the rankings for many writers and currently sits at #14 in the UFC's divisional rundown. Another couple of big wins could see him in quick contention for a title shot, especially if the UFC is interested in escalating his level of competition. Whether he does get the immediate jump in competition he's looking for or not, it's a rare treat to get a lengthy interview with an international fighter in English, so check it out and enjoy.
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