Kawajiri coming to the UFC

One of the biggest stars in Japanese MMA history is coming to

the UFC as featherweight Tatsuya Kawajiri has signed a contract

with the promotion where he will compete for the first time during

his 13 plus year career.

Sources close to Kawajiri confirmed to FOX Sports on Tuesday

that the former PRIDE, DREAM and Strikeforce veteran has signed a

multi-fight contract with the promotion.

For several years, Kawajiri was a mainstay of the lightweight

top ten when he was competing in Pride Fighting Championships where

he put on some of the most memorable fights in the history of the


Nicknamed ‘The Crusher’, Kawajiri faced a veritable who’s who

list of fighters including names like Gilbert Melendez, Josh

Thomson, Yves Edwards, Joachim Hansen and Takanori Gomi.

While he spent the biggest part of his career fighting in the

lightweight division, Kawajiri decided in 2011 to make the move

down to featherweight and he’s found nothing but success in that


He’s picked up four wins in a row at 145 pounds including three

by submission. His most recent victory came over UFC veteran

Michihiro Omigawa by unanimous decision at DREAM 18 in 2012.

Now for the first time in his storied career, Kawajiri will move

to the UFC where he will test himself against the best of the best

in the featherweight division.

There has been no date or opponent given for Kawajiri’s debut,

but he’s expected to hit the Octagon in the coming months as the

UFC continues to expand further and further into Asia as 2014