Every mixed martial arts fan knows that the top two most powerful countries in the industry are Japan and Brazil. This fact may become an advantage for Goiti Yamauchi, who is counting on the fans from both countries to support him in his upcoming fight.
Yamauchi is going up against Isao Kobayashi, who is also known as the former “King of Pancrase”. Yamauchi, who was born in Japan but spent most of his life in Brazil, is going against a fellow Japanese fighter this coming Friday night at the Bellator cage.
“People consider me Japanese here in Brazil. Everyone treats me and knows me as Japanese, so I also consider myself Japanese,” Yamauchi said during a recent interview with MMAjunkie.
The featherweight prospect also said that he considers himself Brazilian despite others not seeing him in the same way.
“My family is Japanese-Brazilian. My grandfather is Japanese, and he came to Brazil and met my grandmother, who is Brazilian, and had my mother. She traveled back to Japan, and I was born there. When I was 4, we returned to Brazil, and I never visited Japan since,” he said.
“Make two nations proud, that’s what I hope for. I was born there, but lived the majority of my life here. I’m proud to be carrying two flags with me. I represent everyone who follows my work, Japan and Brazil,” Yamauchi said.
After healing from an injury that he had back in June, going up against Kobayashi may be a bit of a challenge for Yamauchi.
“I’ve been through a lot of issues, but I was able to finally overcome that and be strong again. I feel like I’m unbeatable now. I had an LCL injury. My doctor said I’d be ready to train again in two months, but I worked hard on my physical therapy I was able to return quicker,” the 22-year old MMA featherweight said.
But he was hoping to be matched-up against Curran now, not Kobayashi.
Yamauchi had to pull out from a fight against former champion Pat Curran when he had the injury. Now that he’s back on his feet, Yamauchi didn’t expect that would be going up against a different fight instead of the former champ.
“I wasn’t expecting to fight Isao now. I was expecting to be matched-up against Pat Curran, or maybe Daniel Weichel. I was really surprised with this fight, but also happy to be fighting a Japanese fighter. This fight is going to be a big deal in Japan, so I’m happy about it,” he added.
Aiming to have a new record of 5-1 under Bellator, Yamauchi said that he feels ready and prepared to get into the cage for a featherweight title until next year.
“I’m optimistic. I don’t control it, but I’m optimistic, and I feel I don’t have anything left to prove. I was supposed to fight Pat Curran and Daniel Weichel already, but it didn’t happen. I was waiting on one of them now, but they gave me Isao. I’m going there to do my job and win. Let’s see if Scott (Coker) gives me (a title shot) next,” Yamauchi said.