Following three consecutive defeats in the UFC’s middleweight division, Japanese judoka Yoshihiro Akiyama has announced his intentions to drop down to welterweight in order to salvage his career.
MMAFighting.com translates a report from Japanese news source Sponichi, in which the 36-year-old Japanese superstar expresses his wish to not only cut the fifteen pounds to make the welterweight limit, but also to move his camp to Montreal to train under welterweight champ Georges St-Pierre.
Possessing a true fighting spirit and a fan-friendly style, Sexyama has kept his job in the UFC despite posting a promotional record of 1-3 and having lost three straight. A big reason for that is his appeal in the Asian market and the fact that, win or lose, he’s never involved in a boring fight; his first three fights in the promotion were all close affairs that earned Fight of the Night.
Most recently, Akiyama appeared in action opposite Vitor “The Phenom” Belfort at UFC 133 early last month. In the fight, Akiyama suffered his second ever knockout defeat, succumbing to strikes delivered by the heavy-handed Brazilian early in the first round. Unbeknownst to many, Akiyama was forced to close his gym, the Cloud Dojo, prior to his bout with Belfort as a result of financial mishandling on the part of a former manager.
UFC president Dana White has long been after the 13-4 fighter to drop down a weight class, believing that he’s too small to compete with the cream of the crop at 185lbs.