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Yoshihiro Akiyama headed to new division for next fight

After a successful stint as a middleweight featuring wins over Melvin Manhoef, Alan Belcher, Denis Kang, and others, Japanese MMA icon Yoshihiro Akiyama has decided to test new waters and will fight at 170 pounds in his next bout – a fight he hopes will come with the opportunity to compete in front of his countrymen.

“Sexyama” explained his intentions in an interview with Sponichi where he alluded to the possibility of his involvement on a February UFC card rumored to be taking place in Saitama, Japan.

The move down in divisions is one fans have been calling for in large part due to his recent struggles in the ring including a trio of consecutive losses in his last three outings, a point Dana White even made after Akiyama’s knockout loss to Vitor Belfort at UFC 133.

Another interesting tidbit gleaned from the conversation is Akiyama’s desire to train alongside Georges St. Pierre, the top welterweight in the world and arguably one of the two best pound-for-pound fighters in the sport today (maybe all-time).

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