Japanese star Yoshihiro Akiyama has been suffering a torrid time in the UFC’s middleweight division over the past year, going 0-3 and lasting just under two minutes in his last outing against Vitor Belfort before being brutally KO’d.
For some fighters that would spell the end of their time in the UFC, but Akiyama’s exciting style, which bagged him three ‘Fight Of The Night’ awards in a row, and his connection to Asia, an important market in the future for the promotion, appears to have afforded him more time to get back to winning ways.
It’s become clear that 185lbs isn’t a weight class that’s likely to bear much fruit for him though, and in fact UFC president Dana White has admitted that he’s been calling for Akiyama to cut down to 170lbs for a long time.
Though initially reluctant the fighter has now finally come to the same conclusion and he now hopes to make his competitive debut when the UFC heads to Japan – something that’s believed to be in the works for February of next year.
It’ll be interesting to see how he gets on in that division. Personally I don’t think he’s going to fare to well – a host of dominant wrestlers like GSP, Jon Fitch, and Josh Koscheck to name but a few will likely be his achilles heel, but it won’t hurt to let him have a go and preserve his UFC career for a little while longer.