Kyoji Horiguchi is headed back home.
As one of the best fighters on the planet today, Horiguchi has established himself as an all-time great from his country of Japan. Testing himself as much as he possibly can, the American Top Team (ATT) product famously gave superstar prodigy kickboxer, Tenshin Nasukawa, a run for his money in Sept. 2018.
Horiguchi came up short via unanimous decision (watch highlights), but in 2022, he isn’t opposed to the idea of eventually giving kickboxing another go.
“I don’t have anyone I [specifically] want to fight, that’s decided by [RIZIN President Nobuyuki] Sakakibara or [Bellator President] Scott Coker. I don’t care, fight is a fight.”
Earlier this year (June 2022), one of the biggest kickboxing bouts in recent memory went down, pitting the aforementioned Nasukawa against fellow pound-for-pound great, Takeru Segawa. For those watching at home or live in person at the packed Tokyo Dome, the wait was well worth it.
Having fought Nasukawa himself, Horiguchi wasn’t surprised by the outcome.
“I thought Tenshin was gonna win so I’m not surprised by that,” Horiguchi said. “It was a really exciting watching that fight, pretty fun, yeah. I wanna see it one more time.
“I think people want to watch some big star versus big star [match ups],” he added. “So, I think that moment is very good for MMA, for martial arts.”
Late last year, the one-time Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) Flyweight title challenger officially signed to the Bellator roster. However, Horiguchi’s deal isn’t like most on the roster.
The Takasaki, Gunma, Japan native is still the RIZIN Fighting Federation 135 pound titleholder and thanks to the promotion’s relationship with Bellator is allowed to compete for both.
At RIZIN 38 on Sept. 25, 2022, Horiguchi returns to the ring for a non-title showdown against Yuto “Kintaro” Hokamura. Now that he’s freed up from competing in Bellator’s current Bantamweight Grand Prix, it leaves the champ with the potential to get back to defending the crown.
“I want to always be fighting, but I don’t have a schedule. I’m just focused on the next fight.
“Kintaro is a good striker and a good aggressive fighter so I have to be careful of his striking. I will mix it up because this is MMA, so I will show an MMA fight.”
Watch the full episode in the video embedded above or you can listen on Spotify.