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UFC signings of Omigawa and Yamamoto are just the beginning

If you haven’t heard the news yet from any of SBNation’s 372 combat sports blogs (or the myriad sites that routinely break MMA contract-related news), the UFC’s nascent 145 and 135 lb divisions became a little more stacked today.  Michihiro Omigawa and Norifumi “KID” Yamamoto – both stand outs in their divisions (don’t let Omigawa’s record fool you; he is 8-2-1 since committing to featherweight), both Japanese and both recently featured prominently on DREAM cards – were signed in a flurry of activity by Zuffa, and both have already been matched up.  Omigawa will make his debut against Chad “The Snuggie of Doom” Mendes, and Yamamoto will face off against the very impressive Demetrious Johnson.

American MMA fans have been clamoring for both to come stateside for some time now (and, for the record, we still desire Bibiano Fernandes, Marlon Sandro and Masanori Kanehara, whom defeated Omigawa and Yamamoto in back-to-back bouts last year).  Why the delay?  Well, it’s harder to sign Japanese stars to the WEC than it is to the UFC.  The paychecks, number of eyeballs watching and prestige of the UFC are impossible to match.  Now that the merger has gone down (I understand that the WEC has events left, but with the UFC now holding fights in that division, it’s kind of dun datta), featherweight and bantamweight starts worldwide are ripe for the picking.

It’s only going to get better (or worse, if you shamelessly promote co-promotion and senselessly believe that a fractured talent pool helps MMA grow).  There will always be fighters that can make more money in Japan than in the US – assuming the Japanese MMA scene does not, in fact, confirm the rumors and go belly-up completely – but those numbers are dwindling and will continue to do so.  Eventually – and sooner than most thought – the UFC will become the unquestioned destination for world class fighters, be they interested in proving themselves to be the best in the world or merely content to cash the biggest check available.

And that’s a good thing.

26 COMMENTS
  • iamphoenix says:

    i actually haven’t heard this news on the other 372 mma blogs…i don’t know who these guys are anyway and they’ll end up sucking like the japanese.

  • G Funk says:

    UFC doesn’t always offer the most money. Hopefully all the good fighters want to challenge themselves and not pull a Fedor.

  • Reverend Clint says:

    yeah lets see them vs some wrestlers/people who cut. The we shall see if the epic japanese fail continues

  • glassjawsh says:

    I AM THE PUPPET MASTER!!! dance minion!!! dANCE!!!

    edit: i agree with everything though

  • frickshun says:

    This post seemed very rhetorical…..

  • scissors61 says:

    The standard “Japanese guys can’t wrestle” formula really doesn’t apply to Kid Yamamoto, Clint. I’m really excited to see him and Omigawa in the UFC.

  • Carcass says:

    “Don’t let Omigawa’s record fool you” – yeah he fucking lost half of the fights he has as wins on there.
    Where the fuck is Hatsu Hioki if they’re signing this piece of shit? If you want Kanehara, you definitely want Hioki – watch their fight.

  • subo says:

    I do love the Iron Broomstick. Let’s sign him too.

  • Reverend Clint says:

    japanese wrestlers are not of the same caliber as American wrestlers

  • Blackula Jonez says:

    Omigawa has already fought in the UFC at 155 and is coming back as a featherweight. Kid has already experienced what a high level american wrestler can do when he lost to Joe Warren in the Dream featherweight tournament and is fighting at bantamweight.

    I know its cool to automatically shit on Japanese fighters but lets put this thing into perspective. The age of the chubby mediorce japanese guy getting highlight reeled by mid level UFC talent is over. Guys like Okami and Mizugaki are proving these guys can hack it. Lets wait until the fights are over to bury them please.

  • Clintlovescock says:

    Kid wrestled in the US, was multiple times Arizona state champ and had an record of 112-4. Clint is a retard.

  • glassjawsh says:

    ^ im liking this guy. he should post more

  • scissors61 says:

    Clint got owned in this thread.

  • Reverend Clint says:

    yeah cause he has swept american wrestlers aside in mma… Oh wait he has lost or cock kicked the only 2 he has faced, unless you count jeff curren. So he is 1-1-1 against good us fighters.

  • Clintlovescock says:

    What a fucking surprise!!! Clint talks out of his ass…AGAAAIN.

    Hey, dummy!
    How about watching some of the fights you talk about? Just reposting Fightfinder stats aint cutting it if you wanna play in the big leagues.

    Thompson was tooled, Kid got EVERY SINGLE TAKEDOWN HE WENT FOR. And losing to Warren after a 2 year long layoff and multiple shoulder, elbow and knee injuries, well it’s nothing to be ashamed of.

  • scissors61 says:

    Warren is one of the best-credentialed wrestlers in MMA, period. He’s not even remotely representative of your average American wrestle-boxer. Not the best example to use.

  • P W says:

    Agreed, Clintlovescock is made of the right stuff.

  • iamphoenix says:

    i think clintlovescock is a psycho rapist pleading for someone’s dick to suck…

  • subo says:

    (waits for inevitable “subolovescock” imitator)

  • Blackula Jonez says:

    Warren the self proclaimed baddest man on the planet is far removed from the average american wrestle boxer.

    And new clint hating guy has a point that ring rust and surgery did help Warrens odds against Kid. That being said since the Dream tournament Warren has pulled of some surprising shit, he got 10-8’ed in both of his last two fights in the first round and still somehow managed to win.

  • Reverend Clint says:

    im just saying that when 99% of the japanese fighters meet a good american wrestler they lose, even ones that are supposed to be wrestlers like Okami.

    im sure he is super awesome and his cock tastes really good, like sushi, but until i see him against a quality UFC fighter i’m not gonna get a boner over these guys, ill leave that to you.

  • I♥balls says:

    Okami is a Judoka

    -Reverend Clint

  • Reverend Clint says:

    you can be both

  • Slappy san says:

    Thumbs up to I♥balls.

  • Reverend Clint says:

    sorry must have forgot, i seem to lose about 15 minutes of memory whenever okami fights

  • frickshun says:

    I don’t get caught up in nationalism but so far…..we haven’t seen much from so far east. Maybe things are a changing. Not yet though.

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