Ryuichi Miki: “I want to fight Hiromasa Ogikubo in the Final.”

Ryuichi Miki (16-6-4), a veteran of the sport for almost decade has made a name for himself fighting in his native Japan, where he remains one of the best fighters on the planet at his respective weight class.

Following a run on the amateur MMA scene, Miki made his professional debut in Mixed Martial Arts back in 2005. And since then, the 30-year-old CAVE affiliate has competed under just one promotion — Shooto.

Having fought the likes of Yosuke Saruta, Haruo Ochi, Fumihiro Kitahara, Kentaro Watanabe and Yasuhiro Urushitani throughout his career. Ryuichi Miki has built up an impressive six-fight win streak that spans from 2012-2014.

Miki began 2014 with an impressive win against former DEEP Bantamweight Champion Yoshiro Maeda, which saw Ryuichi take a Majority Decision win over the hard-hitting striker. And at the same time, booking his place in the Semifinals of Vale Tudo Japan’s Flyweight Tournament.

Fight Sport Asia caught up with the Bantamweight Champion to talk about his latest win, advancing in the Flyweight Tournament, goals, career and much, much more.

Fight Sport Asia:
First off we would like to Congratulate you on advancing in the Flyweight Tournament at Vale Tudo Japan – VTJ 4th. You defeated Yoshiro Maeda in a highly entertaining contest to cement your place in the Semifinals. Did the fight go according to plan?

Ryuichi Miki:
I think that my striking technique is better than him. So my plan went well.

Fight Sport Asia:

Your opponent had a bit of a size advantage over you. How did you find that? 

Ryuichi Miki:

I have checked all of his fights. And especially his striking technique is dirty. So I could find his weak points.

Fight Sport Asia:

What do you think about the remaining contestants – Czar Sklavos, Hiromasa Ogikubo and Kana Hyatt?

Ryuichi Miki:

Czar Sklavos…..He is a nice grappler. And he is a finisher.
Hiromasa Ogikubo…..His take down technique is very nice.
Kana Hyatt……His power is the best of them. He is a hard puncher.

Fight Sport Asia:

Is there anyone in particular you would like to face, if you made it to the Final?


Ryuichi Miki:

I want to fight Hiromasa Ogikubo in the Final.

Fight Sport Asia:
Hiromasa Ogikubo, that’s interesting. Do you see Ogikubo as being the toughest opponent out of the three?

Ryuichi Miki:
I was training with him about 2 – 3 years ago. So I don’t want to fight with him. But winner is only one person. So if I will fight with him, I want to fight at final.


Fight Sport Asia:

You began your professional career back in 2005, and have been involved in the sport for nearly a decade. How did you come by Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) and did you decide right away this was your path to a career?

Ryuichi Miki:
I really wanted to be a Pro Wrestler. But I am a small. So I became an MMA fighter.

Fight Sport Asia:

Do you have a background in Martial Arts. And if so does this help you inside the ring?

Ryuichi Miki:

My background is Kyokushin Karate. I was learning perseverance. My Left middle kick. I can do it to close the distance from a far. So my opponent is confused.

Fight Sport Asia:

Katsunori Kikuno, who also comes from a Kyokushin Karate background made his UFC debut earlier this year. Did you have a chance to watch his fight and what did you think of his performance?

Ryuichi Miki:

His opponent was not good. So I can not say much about Kikuno’s fight in the UFC.


Fight Sport Asia:

Your currently on an impressive run of wins – six to be precise. Which includes winning the Shooto Bantamweight (123-lbs) title by overcoming Yosuke Saruta in a rematch. Prior to the fight you faced the aforementioned Yosuke Saruta, which ended in a Draw for the then vacant title. Many fans thought you had done enough to win. How did you feel the first fight went? And did you change anything for the rematch?

Ryuichi Miki:
I thought it was draw. And then my mind was changed on second viewing. I thought that I must finish. So I attacked more aggressively.

Fight Sport Asia:

How did you celebrate winning the prestigious title?

Ryuichi Miki:

I was commotion with my teammate until the morning.

Fight Sport Asia:

Having made your rounds in Shooto. Would you ever like to test your skills stateside?

Ryuichi Miki:

Yes, I wanna fight stateside.

Fight Sport Asia:

Your known to be one of Asia’s most exciting fighters to watch, but for anyone who hasn’t been able to catch your fights. How would you describe your style?

Ryuichi Miki:

I think I am a very balanced fighter with good defense and offense. So it makes it hard to capture me.

Fight Sport Asia:

You have a respectable record (16-6-4) and train out of the well-known CAVE/Team OTOKOGI gyms. Could you talk us through a normal days training. And do you train with anyone specifically leading up to a fight?

Ryuichi Miki:

Boxing, Kickboxing, Grappling, MMA. I am training at Team OTOKOGI(Shintaro Ishiwatari, Kyoji Horiguchi, Caol Uno, Masakatsu Ueda, and more)

Fight Sport Asia:

Speaking of Kyoji Horiguchi and Caol Uno. What do you think of Horiguchi’s decision to move down to Flyweight. How do you think he will do? And what do you think of Uno’s most recent performances. Would you like to see him back with the UFC?

Ryuichi Miki:
I think Kyoji Horiguchi was small in the Bantamweight division. So it is good. And I think that he will become a UFC champion. Caol Uno is living legend. And his technique is always evolving. Of course I want to see him back in the UFC.


Fight Sport Asia:

Would like to rematch with any of the losses on your record?

Ryuichi Miki:
Yasuhiro Urushitani and Kentaro Watanabe.

Fight Sport Asia:
Who would you say is your toughest fight to date and why?

Ryuichi Miki:

Yasuhiro Urushitani(first fight). Because It was my first title shot.

Fight Sport Asia:

Have you gained anything from your losses?

Ryuichi Miki:

Everything from training method, Diet, Conditioning and more.


Fight Sport Asia:

Depending on your opponent do you ever switch between camps? 

Ryuichi Miki:
No, I always train at CAVE and Team OTOKOGI.

Fight Sport Asia:

Your last bout saw you compete inside a cage for the first time. How did you find the experience. Did your gym have access for you to train in a cage?

Ryuichi Miki:
The cage is wider than the ring, so I like fighting inside the cage. Because I think that distance is important. Yes, there is a cage in CAVE.

Fight Sport Asia:
When you’re not training, what do you like to do in your spare time. Besides fighting do you follow any other sports, or have any hobbies?

Ryuichi Miki:

Basketball, Table tennis.

Fight Sport Asia:

Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) is always on the rise in Asia. What do you think of the sports growth?

Ryuichi Miki:

It’s great! And I hope it’s going to grow more.

Fight Sport Asia:

The UFC haved signed numerous Asian fighters over the last year? How do you think you would match-up with their Flyweight (125-lbs) division?


Ryuichi Miki:

I think that UFC need them. Because it is a sport and business. So they need local fighters. I do not know yet. And I am waiting for their offer.

Fight Sport Asia:
Your currently Shooto’s Bantamweight Champion. Can you say how many fights you have left on your remaining contract?

Ryuichi Miki:
I can’t say anything about the contract. There is a duty of confidentiality to the contract.


Fight Sport Asia:
Is there any dream match-ups for you that you might pursue in Japan in the near future?

Ryuichi Miki:
I want to fight with Hideo Tokoro.

Fight Sport Asia:
A fight with Hideo Tokoro would be an exciting one for the fans, but is there a particular reason you want that fight?


Ryuichi Miki:
He is superstar in Japan. And he is a living legend. So I want the fight.

Fight Sport Asia:
Have you saw any fights this year that have impressed you?

Ryuichi Miki:

Shintaro Ishiwatari vs. You Saito
Because Ishiwatari is my best friend.


Fight Sport Asia:

Having opened up 2014 with an impressive win. Do you have any goals for the year. And what to you look to accomplish before the end of your career?

Ryuichi Miki:
I want to be the winner of VTJ Flyweight tournament. I want to be a UFC champion.

Fight Sport Asia:

At 30-years of age how long do you see yourself staying in the sport?

Ryuichi Miki:

I can not think end of my career yet.


Fight Sport Asia:

Lastly is there anything you like to say to your sponsors, fans or teammates?

Ryuichi Miki:

Thank you so much for supporting me! I will be the winner of VTJ Flyweight tournament for them.

Fight Sport Asia would like to thank Ryuichi Miki and his manager for given time out of their busy schedule, and wish him luck in the Semifinals of the Flyweight Tournament.

______________________________________________________________________________________
Photo credit: Shooto
Follow us on Twitter (@FightSportAsia) and Facebook for all the latest news coming out of Asia

 

 
Advertisements

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

Categories: Asian MMA, Featured, Interview, Japan, MMA, Shooto, Vale Tudo Japan

Subscribe

Connect with us on any of our social profiles below.

%d bloggers like this: