Mike Brown Heaps Praise on “Grossly Underrated” Kyoji Horiguchi
By FCF Staff
Kyoji Horiguchi has gone 10-1 since he exited the UFC in 2016, and has impressed MMA insiders and hardcore fans here in North America. But, his coach Mike Brown believes Horiguchi remains an extremely, underappreciated fighter.
Horiguchi is preparing to face Kai Asakura at RIZIN 26 tomorrow, who ended his 13 fight winning streak last August, by stopping him in the opening round. Ahead of the rematch, Brown spoke with MMA Junkie, and while discussing Horiguchi the American Top Team coach said this.
“I think he’s grossly underrated, but that happens a lot when you’re fighting outside the UFC. But if you look at his record, his pedigree – I mean, it’s incredible. He’s got a great record, and now he’s fighting at 135 where he’s much smaller than guys – I think he can fight at both weight classes (flyweight) fairly easy – but with a few extra pounds, I think him fighting at 135, it’s given him more power.
“That extra muscle is improving his shots, and he’s getting guys out of there a lot more easily than at 125 pounds. When you’re a smaller guy, and you have 10 less pounds behind your shots, it’s a little more difficult to get guys out of there with your shots.
“I think that’s brought some attention because he was on a nice winning streak and finishing guys. He had that 10-second win over Ian McCall, winning the Rizin grand prix tournament, he had three fights in two nights there, two wins over Darrion Caldwell, who’s a very tough fight and is much bigger than him – I mean, NCAA champion, so tall and just a difficult stylistic matchup for a guy like Kyoji. Before he was with us (at ATT), he fought Demetrious Johnson and kind of got outwrestled in that fight. But that just showed his improvement and ability to get back to his feet in the Caldwell fights.”
Horiguchi (28-3) was originally supposed to rematch Asakura in November, 2019, but he was forced out of the contest due to a knee injury. Horiguchi vacated the bantamweight title as a result, and Asakura (16-2) proceeded to win the title this past August by stopping Hiromasa Ougikubo.
RIZIN 26 will be hosted by the Saitama Super Arena in Japan.