Shintaro Ishiwatari eyeing a rematch with former UFC flyweight, Kyoji Horiguchi
The current Pancrase Bantamweight Champion, Shintaro Ishiwatari is considered to be one of the top 135-er’s in the world today. Shintaro will be competing in the upcoming RIZIN World Grand Prix, where he is scheduled to fight Akhmed Musakaev in the opening round.
However, Ishiwatari is looking well beyond the first round, and is itching to fight former UFC flyweight, Kyoji Horiguchi.
“The Gooch” signed up with RIZIN FF earlier this year, after going 7 – 1 during his UFC stint. Horiguchi previously challenged for the UFC Flyweight title, and lost to Demetrious Johnson.
With Horiguchi signing up with RIZIN FF, it presents the Pancrase 135 lb champion with the opportunity to get his win back.
Shintaro Ishiwatari eyeing a rematch with Kyoji Horiguchi
Both the fighters previously met in 2013, under the Vale Tudo Japan banner, where Kyoji defeated Ishiwatari by TKO in the fifth soon. Soon after the fight, Horiguchi signed with the UFC, while Shintaro racked up 6 victories in his previous 7 fights. However, the King of Pancrase wants to fight – and defeat the former UFC flyweight.
“For me, it’s all about me beating tough, international fighters”, Ishiwatari said. “Now that there is a platform where tough international fighters are coming to, there is no need for me to fight outside of Japan.”
“I’ve been watching his fights after I lost. I study off of his fights, to make myself a better fighter. Most fighters have a time period where you hit a wall and stop improving, a time where you struggle. But he just continues to evolve like simple math. His fight IQ is high, his overall skill levels are high, and there is a lot to learn from him.”
While Shintaro has cemented himself as one of the top bantamweights in the world today, the Pancrase 135 lb title holder understands that the sport of MMA is constantly evolving.
“I think this sport is still evolving at an extremely fast rate, and new techniques and skills are being born every day. I think it is important to keep up with the rest of the world. I don’t think my technique is out of date, but I am always curious of new skill, even executed by lower profile fighters.”