It will be a busy time this coming weekend for Zuffa. On Saturday, the UFC 101 will debut in Philadelphia with UFC 101. Meanwhile, on Sunday, the WEC will return to Las Vegas and the Hard Rock with WEC 42 (VERSUS at 9 p.m. ET).
While UFC 101 will be a stacked card, WEC 42 should not be overlooked. Headlining the event will be the baddest bantamweight on the planet, Miguel Torres, taking on number one contender Brian Bowles.
Also slated for the televised portion of the card is another intriguing bantamweight matchup between Jeff Curran and former WEC bantamweight title challenger Takeya Mizugaki.
Despite being considered a top five bantamweight, little is known about the Japanese import. However, FiveOuncesOfPain.com was granted a rare opportunity to speak with Mizugaki and learn more about this amazingly talented fighter.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: A lot of the newer MMA fans may not know who you are, can you give us a little background on yourself?
Takeya Mizugaki: I started Kendo (Japanese sword fighting) when I was a first grade and continued until end of high school. I also played base ball in junior high school. I was a third baseman. I started MMA only after I graduated from high school.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: How did you get into MMA?
Takeya Mizugaki: I always liked watching MMA so I just wanted to get in for the experience. At first I had no intention of becoming a pro at first.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Where do you train at?
Takeya Mizugaki: I train at Shooting Gym Hakkei. I do mainly striking training there but also we have a wresting coach there so I do a lot of wrestling training there as well.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Where do you feel your strength is as a fighter?
Takeya Mizugaki: Striking definitely is my strength. Also I think I have got a pretty good sense of mental control. I never ever over excited for the fight.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: What do you feel you need to work on still?
Takeya Mizugaki: I need to improve on my wrestling skill so besides the wrestling coach at Shooting Gym Hakkei I also go to Kiguchi Wrestling School where Takanori Gomi and Genki Sudo are from, at least once a week.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Did you have difficulty adjusting to the different rules moving from Shooto to the unified rules of MMA?
Takeya Mizugaki: Not really. Well, I actually never even thought about it. I am striker so sure its better now that once I knock down an opponent then I can chase to finish the fight. But for the past year or two I have been fighting in
the cage so I really don’t think about this difference in the rules.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Do you prefer fighting in the ring or cage?
Takeya Mizugaki: I prefer cage. I feel like I can do ground and pound better in the cage for some reason.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Is there any particular advantages in the ring or cage?
Takeya Mizugaki: Well I am just used to fight in the cage but I am concern when the opponent pushes me to the fence because then I know it would be easier for the opponent to go for the single leg for the takedown so I gotta be careful but that is about it.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: You fight in the 135lbs. weight class but what do you actually weigh the day of the fight?
Takeya Mizugaki: I usually walk around at 155 so probably around there.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Who was your toughest fight to date?
Takeya Mizugaki: Miguel Torres and Ryota Matsune. Both of them are very tough fighter.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Have you watched the tape of your fight with Miguel Torres?
Takeya Mizugaki: Yeah about ten times by myself and another couple times with my master Chairman Watanabe at Shooting Gym Hakei. Chairman Watanabe has said it was a good fight and also encouraged me by telling, “next time you can beat Torres.”
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Do you feel you won that bout?
Takeya Mizugaki: No Miguel won that fight. He was better than me on that night.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Which fighters would you pay to watch?
Takeya Mizugaki: Good champions like Torres and Fedor Emelianenko.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: Are there any fighters that you look up to?
Takeya Mizugaki: Manny Pacquiao.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: If you weren’t a professional MMA fighter, what other line of work would you be in?
Takeya Mizugaki: I just got a master in electrical engineering so I guess I would be an engineer.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: How many more fights are left on your WEC contract?
Takeya Mizugaki: I believe four more including the fight vs Jeff Curran this weekend.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: What do you do to relax?
Takeya Mizugaki: Motorcycle. I love riding motorcycle but Chairman Watanabe always tell me to
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: When your not worried about making weight, what do you pig out on?
Takeya Mizugaki: I like meat. I am even fine with Hamburger after the weigh-ins. But my
favorite is a Korean BBQ.
FiveOuncesOfPain.com: And lastly, where do you see yourself in five years?
Takeya Mizugaki: I want to become a WEC champion and defend enough times then engage in a “power negotiation” with Mr. Dana White (laughs).