Exclusive interview with Hideo Tokoro “Horiguchi is a beast”


“Horiguchi is an absolute beast. For me I have to go all in, as long as I’m fighting him I don’t want to give it all I have.”

Q) Your participation in the Bantam weight GP has officially been confirmed. How did everything come in place, especially Horiguchi being your opponent for the opening round?

T) When I first got the offer from Mr. Sakakibara, I discussed it with people around me, and there were many opinions and debates, but because the opponent being Horiguchi, I decided to take on this challenge.

Q) It seems like most of the people around you including your family were opposed to the fight.

T) Yes, they were all against the idea, but still I wanted to challenge myself. But I can say that this will be the last time I will be participating in a GP. And I am going to challenge the toughest opponent available.

Q) So you had in mind that this will be your last challenge. You just mentioned that Horiguchi is the toughest opponent available, but what are your thoughts of him as a fighter?

T) When he first went to the UFC I was envious of him but yet looked up to him. I was rooting for him to become the champion in the UFC.

Q) You were rooting for him?

T) Yes, he was one of the guys I was rooting for. Didn’t even think twice about him becoming an opponent.

Q) It seems like you come across Krazy Bee fighters often.

T) Yes, I really do. It maybe destiny lol

Q) You mentioned that this will be your last time competing in a GP. Does that have anything to do with your age?

T) It does, there are still fighters who fight 3 fights in a one day tournament who are over 40, and I look up to them, but it’s really hard on the body.

Q) Your appearance hasn’t changed one bit from your younger days, but do you feel the wear and tear from your everyday routine?

T) Oh, I’m old, trust me. My body doesn’t recover from fatigue like it used to. If I go hard for 1 day, it will take me 2-3 days to completely recover from it, and injuries don’t heal as quickly. I feel that I have become more conservative in taking fights as I have aged, for example, I accepted the fight against Alexandre Franca Nogueira in a heartbeat, and I think I would have for this offer if I were younger.

Q) So you being conservative and protective to your career, but yet you stepped up to take on this fight.

T) The ball is rolling and there is no way back, there is a set date ahead of me and do or don’t, that date is going to come. I won’t be able to win against that beast if my mind isn’t set straight. I have no time to be looking back and to be afraid.

Q) Horiguchi is a beast??

T) Most definitely, so if I’m scheduled to face him, I want to give it all and beat the beast.

Q) It has been 12 years since you fought Nogueira. That is when you started to get recognized by everybody, and that was 12 years ago, yet you still get these offers to fight the top fighters, which is amazing.

T) I am very fortunate. There are so many fighters who are tougher than me, but to be given the opportunity to fight one of the world’s best in a big stage like RIZIN, I am nothing but grateful. Very grateful.

Q) Back in the day, you used to be challenging the older, higher profiled opponents, but lately it seems like you have been taking on younger fighters, like this one. How do you feel about that?

T) When you compete for over 10 years, your opponents will eventually become younger, so I don’t feel anything about that. But Horiguchi is a serious contender who fought a title fight in the UFC, and put on fantastic performances in VTJ and Shooto, so I feel much honored to be able to challenge such fighter.

Q) Well, Tokoro is known to beat the odds and pull serious upsets, so the anticipation is high.

T) I hope to be able to pull off the upset of the century. And if there are fans who anticipate the upset, I will do my best to be able to deliver what they are expecting.

Q) What are your thoughts on the other participants in the GP?

T) I have no idea. The only fighter in mind right now is Horiguchi. Otsuka has always been a tough fighter and it’s weird to be fighting in the same tournament. Today was the first time I met Ishibashi, but he looked like a very tough fighter. But for me, it’s Horiguchi. That’s all I can think of.

Q) You need to focus on Horiguchi?

T) Absolutely, I don’t have any capacity to be thinking about other fighters. Until July 31st.

Q) What would you like to show the fans on July 30th?

T) This will be my last time fighting in a GP, so I want to give it all and leave no regrets. I may lose immediately by taking some punches and won’t be able to show what I have, but I want to leave that ring knowing that I gave it all. I will work hard to pursue that goal.