UFC Japan: Jussier Formiga Fondly Recounts First Japanese Encounter

Jussier Formiga will square off against Yuta Sasaki at UFC Japan in Saitama on Friday, clearly relishing an opportunity to return to the country he remembers fondly

The flyweight fought just once in Japan, back in 2009, when he stepped into the Shooto ring in Japan against Shinichi Kojima:

“It was my first international fight, and I never had the chance to fight there again,” Formiga told MMA Fighting. “I became the No. 1 flyweight in the world in that fight. I took it on days’ notice. I only got in Japan four days before the fight, and it will be great to fight there again. I’m truly excited for this fight.”

Formiga claims that the UFC was happy to oblige when he requested to fight on Friday’s card:

“I asked the UFC to fight in Japan,” he said. “I insisted on this idea, and they made it happen.”

As for his opponent, Formiga is relishing the opportunity to face a bonafide grappler:

“Sasaki is versatile, strikes a little, but I feel that he’s more of a grappler than a striker. I don’t pick opponents, it doesn’t matter if I’m fighting a striker or a grappler, but I feel like it’s a bigger challenge for me to face a grappler.”

Once he can get past the challenge of Sasaki, Formiga believes that he will edge closer to challenging Demetrious “Mighty” Johnson for a pop at his title:

“I believe pretty much everyone already fought for the belt and I haven’t, but I decided to stop thinking about it for a while because it was affecting my performances,” Formiga said. “Every UFC fighter wants to fight for the belt and it’s not different with me, but I want to focus on this fight only. A big win for me over Sasaki will get me a lot of credit in the UFC.”