“I will show fun exchanges with the UFC veteran and show a quality MMA fight.”
“I’ll win the tournament. I’m sure I can do it.”
Q) Your RIZIN debut has been announced. What is your current feelings?
O) RIZIN is a promotion with the most attention right now with television, and having press conferences at a hotel like this, with lots of press……. It’s a good feeling. Fighters need attention so I’m happy to be able to participate in a promotion that gives the fighters exposure.
Q) It has been about 18 months after RIZIN’s initial launch, what are your thoughts so far?
O) It is a good mixture of high profile, legit fights and some character fights. There are many fighters who have participated so far, and I’ve been watching the events thinking that I am better than most of these guys, but I totally understand that you need to be more than just a good fighter to fight in the RIZIN ring. I was able to be called into the GP with being a good fighter, and am matched up with a former UFC fighter so I think I will be able to showcase the high profile, legit fight to the fans. There are many types of fighters in RIZIN, but I am a pure MMA fighter and I think I can show a great MMA fight.
Q) You do understand that RIZIN called you because they wanted to show legit MMA fights right?
O) Of course, I understand that. They wouldn’t call me to be a character or clown.
Q) What went through your head when you first got the offer to enter the GP?
O) When they announced this year’s GP at Bantamweight, right before my title defense, so I thought I might have a chance. Then the rumors were that champions from each organizations will be summoned. For me, I had my title defense ahead but I was pumped. So my focus and motivation on defending the title was extremely higher than ever.
Q) So you were motivated to enter the RIZIN GP with that belt on your shoulder.
Q) And you successfully defended your title and here you are representing DEEP. Do you feel any pressure about representing an organization?
O) Sure I’m representing DEEP, but moreover I am motivated to prove my skills and ability as a fighter. I want to show what I can do to the world, and RIZIN has put me in front of a perfect opponent. He is a former UFC fighter, a great one to test my abilities. I’m very motivated for this.
Q) During the press conference, you mentioned that you were going to beat your opponent to pieces. I can tell how motivated you are. What are your thoughts on Anthony Birchak?
O) I’ve been watching his fights after I found out that he was going to be my opponent, and he is a well-rounded fighter who is good at everything. He can hurt people standing, he can finish on the ground. I haven’t seen the full fight against Kawajiri, but he showed that he was well rounded, and had Kawajiri in trouble. His fight against Kawajiri was at Feather weight, so I think that he will be much better at his original Bantamweight so I think it would be a great fight. He’s a well-rounded fighter so I would like to face him in all aspects. I am grateful for this matchup.
Q) Mr. Sakakibara has mentioned that this GP was built around Horiguchi, but what are your thoughts about that?
O) I guess that’s fine. He does have the most significant accomplishments and he was ranked 3rd in the UFC, and left with an amazing record. I think this Bantamweight GP has gained much attention because of him, so I would actually like to thank him for giving me this opportunity and by putting the spotlight on the lighter weight classes.
Q) Do you feel that you would like to take the spotlight away from him?
O) Yeah, I’m sure that day will come sometime this year.
Q) In Horiguchi’s promotional debut, he dominated a fellow DEEP champion Yuki Motoya.
O) Yes, Motoya got beat up. But him and I are a totally different breed. I had no idea what Motoya was wanting to do. He constantly gave up positions and let Horiguchi dictate the pace. I’m not like that.
Q) Understood. So straight to the point, do you feel confident in making it to the finals and winning the entire thing?
O) I’ll win the tournament. I’m sure I can do it.
Q) That’s a bold statement! So please let the fans know what to expect from you in July 30th.
O) I will fight with my heart and soul and slaughter Anthony Birchak!