As we approach the much-anticipated clash, here are five things
that you might not know about Horiguchi:
He has been a champion before.
Horiguchi also achieved gold with the Shooto
promotion. He won their bantamweight strap in Mar. 2013 via a
second-round rear-naked choke submission of Hiromasa
He once fought three times in three days.
In 2017, Horiguchi competed for Rizin FF three times in as many
days. The hectic schedule was due to his participation in the 2017
Rizin Bantamweight Grand Prix. On Dec. 29 of that year, “Typhoon”
Oliveira with a first round KO. A mere two days later, on New
Year’s Eve, Horiguchi stopped two opponents in the same night. His
victims were Manel Kape
He has fought in two weight categories.
Prior to his UFC tenure, the young knockout artist was widely
regarded as the best bantamweight in Asia. After a triumphant debut
at 135-pounds with the Las Vegas based promotion at UFC 166 in
October 2013, Horiguchi down-sized to flyweight. Three successive
UFC wins in his new weight category later, Horiguchi fought
Johnson for the flyweight title in a losing effort at UFC 186
in April 2015. Upon his return to the Land of the Rising Sun with
Rizin FF, the Japanese combatant appeared once at flyweight before
returning to bantamweight. The move has certainly reaped rewards
for Horiguchi, who is 6-0 since upsizing.
He has a penchant for the KO.
Horiguchi initially trained in karate. Today, his origins in the
sport manifest themselves in a remarkable KO rate. 13 (52 percent)
of Horiguchi’s 22 victories have come by way of KO/TKO. This is a
particularly impressive knockout rate for a fighter competing in
the sport’s lighter weight categories. The heavy-handed Japanese
pugilist’s fastest stoppage wins have come in recent times while
turning out for Rizin FF. In his sophomore outing with the
promotion, in July 2017, Horiguchi knocked out veteran Hideo Tokoro
a mere 1:49 into the opening period. His quickest KO to date was a
9-second blowout of fellow UFC alum Ian McCall at
Rizin 10 in May 2018. The finish is the quickest in Rizin FF
He has spent a lot of time Stateside.
After graduating from high school, Horiguchi started training at
Krazy Bee under the tutelage of his mentor and the gym’s founder,
the late Norifumi
Yamamoto. It was after his title fight defeat at the hands of
Johnson in April 2015 that Horiguchi made the decision to up and
leave to the United States. There he enlisted with the vaunted
American Top Team in Coconut Creek, Florida. To this day, he
continues to spend the majority of his time training there. From
all accounts, keen fisherman Horiguchi enjoys the lifestyle in
South Florida. His former trainer, “Kid” Yamamoto, once stated of
his charge’s move across the Pacific, “I am happy to hear Kyoji's
decision and I am fully supportive of him …”