UFC Japan: Zuffa reportedly eyes Saitama Super Arena for Feb. 26, 2012 return

Someone call The Vapors, I think the UFC is turning Japanese.

Ultimate Fighting Championship President Dana White revealed last week during the UFC 132 pre-fight festivities that Zuffa was already working on a return trip to Japan for an upcoming UFC event in the not-too-distant future.

MMA Weekly has nailed down a possible date and location:

UFC officials are looking at a Feb. 26, 2012, date in Japan with the show currently targeted for the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama.

While the venue has been reserved by agencies working with Zuffa in Japan, this is still just the preliminary location they are focusing on for a return to Japan. Other venues and locations are being looked at, but Saitama Super Arena is currently the most likely landing spot.

White predicted that the company would likely end up in Japan in 2011, although our sources are indicating the early part of 2012 is more realistic at this point.

Imagine if Yushin Okami usurped the 185-pound throne by defeating Anderson Silva at UFC "Rio" -- only to make his first title defense in "The Land of the Rising Sun?"

Not likely, but still a nice scenario.

The promotion has one Japanese show to its credit prior to the Zuffa regime: UFC 15.5 "Ultimate Japan" on Dec. 21, 1997, from the Yokohama Arena featuring Randy Couture, Vitor Belfort, Frank Shamrock and Kazuahi Sakuraba, among others.

In addition, the UFC has no shortage of Japanese stars, as well as fighters who made their names in the early days of PRIDE FC, K-1 and Shooto.

Along with the aforementioned Okami, former PRIDE Lightweight Champion Takanori Gomi could be tapped for a 2012 homecoming and what Japanese MMA fan wouldn't show up to boo Yoshihiro Akiyama?

It could be quite the event, assuming the Triads that allegedly tried to kill Bob Sapp and run PRIDE out of town don't show up and try to pull a Whitey Bulger and strong-arm Dana White.

Stay tuned!

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