UFC announces return to Japan in February 2012

The UFC will return to another of MMA’s birthplaces after a highly successful stop in Brazil less than two weeks ago for UFC 134, this time opting Japan and a venue associated with countless PRIDE offerings in the past.

According to an official statement from Dana White, the UFC will bring the Octagon back to the Land of the Rising Sun on February 26 with an event at Saitama Super Arena. The upcoming occasion will mark the UFC’s first show in the Far East since 2000.

“It’s been over ten years since a UFC event was held in Japan and we’re pumped to bring the fastest growing sport in the world there once again,” explained White in a taped message. “Japan has played a huge role in getting the sport to where it is today.”

Though no fighters were confirmed for unnamed card, numerous individuals on the organization’s roster have already expressed an interest in competing in Japan under the UFC banner including  Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira and Yoshihiro Akiyama. It’s also probable other Japanese stars, like Akiyama, will be attached to the lineup including the likes of Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto, Hatsu Hioki, Takanori Gomi, and Yushin Okami.

The UFC hasn’t visited Japan since “UFC 29” with a card featuring Chuck Liddell, Evan Tanner, Tito Ortiz, Matt Hughes, and even Chris Lytle!

MMATraining Take: Back to Japan? Excellent idea and long overdue considering the connection between the country and Mixed Martial Arts. Their crowds might be known for showing their appreciation with mild clapping and respectful silence but it might be hard for a few fans to maintain their composure when a UFC event featuring some of their favorite stars – Akiyama for example – comes rolling through town. If only Lenne Hardt could tag-team intros with Bruce Buffer my life would be complete…

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