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UFC headed back to Japan?

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ufc in japan
Recent reports from international newspapers and comments from Dana White have the UFC eyeing a potential return to the Land of the Rising Sun, Japan.

Here's a snip from the Canadian Press today:

White says the UFC will visit Japan ‘very soon' as part of its plan of ‘global domination.'

And from White in Nikkan Sports (a Japanese daily sports newspaper):

"Right now we're number one, but previously Japan was an extremely large MMA market. Not only is that fascinating, Japanese fans are knowledgeable. It's no surprise that the fighters feed off the fans. I'm confident that we could show we're different from what we showed at the last event in Japan. If the President of Nikkan Sports will cooperate, I would host an event tomorrow (laughter)."

An event in the Far East would mark the fifth in the UFC's short history, and the first for the promotion under Zuffa ownership.

Back in 1997, UFC 15.5 featured a four-man heavyweight tournament, as well as middleweight and heavyweight championship bouts, in Yokohama, Japan.

UFC 23, UFC 25 and UFC 29 followed in the years thereafter (1999-2000), all of which took place in Tokyo, Japan.

Late last year, PRIDE FC — UFC's biggest competitor, which calls Japan home — staged its first-ever event in the United States in Zuffa's backyard, Las Vegas.

It was a bold move that obviously did not go unnoticed.

With the UFC already planning international shows in Europe (UFC 70), Mexico and Canada, I don't really understand the reason to head over to Japan anytime soon.

I kind of get the feeling that this is one those, "Anything you can do, I can do better" type of deals.

And I seriously question whether or not that (ego) is an effective marketing strategy.

Unless, of course, we're talking UFC vs. PRIDE New Year's Eve 2007.