When Kyoji Horiguchi left the UFC he did so very much on his own terms. The former flyweight top contender battled out the final fight on his contract – a decision win over Ali Bagautinov – then turned down the UFC’s renewal offer, eventually landing with RIZIN Fighting Federation. It seems he couldn’t have made a better decision.
In the two years since leaving the Octagon, Horiguchi has put together an impressive 10-0 record—running through RIZIN’s 2017 Grand Prix, and capturing the promotion’s inaugural 135 lb title with a win over Bellator bantamweight champion Darrion Caldwell. On June 14th, he repeated the feat, beating Caldwell at Bellator 222 to capture the Viacom promotion’s belt as well.
“I was very happy I was able to take the belt,” Horiguchi told ESPN after the fight. The ATT fighter is hoping to fight as often as he can going forward, and is reportedly contractually obligated to defend his newly captured belt at least once a year.
However, while he may not know exactly against whom or when his next fight will be, when asked about Henry Cejudo’s recent title winning performance over Marlon Moraes, the 28-year-old was emphatic about his desire to fight the UFC’s newest ‘double champ.’
“Me. Me Better!” Horiguchi said, breaking into English, when asked about Cejudo. “I want to fight Henry Cejudo. Yeah. Let’s go fight.”
He went on to add that he’d like to see Bellator, RIZIN, and the UFC enter some kind of co-promotion deal to make the bout happen—perferably at 135 lbs. It’s something that’s almost certainly not going to happen. But perhaps, when Horiguchi’s current contractual obligations are met, he’ll find himself on the receiving end of another offer from the UFC—one that he wouldn’t want to turn down.
About the author