Kyoji Horiguchi may have failed to dethrone division leader Demetrious Johnson in their title fight last year at UFC 186; however, it turned out for the better as he saw the things he needed to improve on, prompting him to move and train on US soil.
The 24-year old Gunma, Japan native had spent his entire career training in Japan at Krazy Bee Camp, under the tutelage of fellow UFC fighter Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, before flying halfway across the world to South Florida at the American Top Team.
“Of course, it was a very important experience to face UFC Flyweight Champ Demetrious Johnson,” the former UFC flyweight challenger tells Dojo Drifter in an online interview. “It gave me a chance to review myself as a fighter and helped me to make the decision to join American Top Team in Florida to become better.”
“ATT not only has good high-level training partners at my weight class but also there are top-level coaches in each area: boxing, kickboxing, wrestling, jiujitsu and conditioning,” he shares on his recent move.” I am trying to polish my tools while I improve the area which I need to improve.”
— Charles Rosa (@CharlesRosaMMA) November 11, 2015
This wasn’t the first time he trained in the United States. Horiguchi trained at the American Kickboxing Academy alongside current UFC champions Luke Rockhold and Daniel Cormier to prepare for his fight with “Mighty Mouse,” though the number-six-ranked UFC flyweight eventually chose ATT this time, partly because of the state’s lower cost of living and the presence of fishing spots, something that he loves doing, according to his manager Fumihiko Ishii, in an interview with Sherdog.com.
Horiguchi has recently bounced back after the loss to Johnson with a unanimous decision win over Chico Camus back in Japan last September. He now looks to make it two in a row when he faces veteran Neil Seery this May in the UFC’s first card in the Netherlands to continue to get back at the title picture.
With the kind of opponent he’ll be facing in a few weeks, he sees the match-up as on opportunity to showcase a new dimension of his game since joining his new team.
“Neil is an experienced fighter with strong background of boxing and has good submission game,” says the Japanese contender. “I would like to test myself to show what I have improved after joining ATT.”
“Fans can expect an exciting fight! I appreciate all of your support especially the fans in Philippines!”
Photo courtesy from Mitch Viquez/Zuffa LLC/Zuffa LLC via Getty Images