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Kyoji Horiguchi Calls Out UFC After Having Return Interest Dismissed


Kyoji Horiguchi calls out UFC
Kyoji Horiguchi

Kyoji Horiguchi, a prominent figure in the MMA world, has voiced his frustration with the UFC, accusing the promotion of prioritizing profits over fighters. Since parting ways with the UFC in 2016, Horiguchi has found significant success, holding the Bellator and RIZIN bantamweight championships simultaneously until an injury sidelined him. Currently, he is the reigning RIZIN flyweight champion, adding to his impressive resume outside the Octagon.


Horiguchi's achievements have sparked curiosity about a potential return to the UFC. The fighter himself has expressed interest in making a comeback, but recent revelations suggest that this may never happen. During an episode of RIZIN Confessions, Horiguchi shared that the UFC has shown no interest in re-signing him. He criticized the promotion for its profit-driven approach and lack of focus on the flyweight division.


"[Everyone at American Top Team is] like 'Why can't you get signed?'" Horiguchi said. "It's a big mystery. 'What? They don't want Kyoji?' They're like, 'That's insane...if they don't want you, I don't know what else to do.'


"They went public and now they're big shots. They are prioritizing profit is what I think. Like, their fight purses are very low. There are only a limited amount of guys who can live off of it. They're not putting in the efforts for the flyweight division."


The UFC's relationship with the flyweight division has been tumultuous since Demetrious "Mighty Mouse" Johnson was crowned the first champion at UFC 152 in 2012. After Johnson's defeat by Henry Cejudo in 2018 and subsequent trade to ONE Championship, there were rumors about the UFC considering the division's closure.


Horiguchi's UFC tenure saw him compete eight times between 2013 and 2016, with a commendable 7-1 record. His only loss came against Johnson in a title fight at UFC 186, where he was submitted with just one-second remaining.


The UFC's parent company, Endeavor, has undergone significant changes since acquiring the promotion in 2016, becoming a publicly traded company in 2021 and merging with WWE to form TKO in 2023.


Horiguchi's next challenge is a rematch against former Bellator bantamweight champion Sergio Pettis at RIZIN 47 on June 9. Their previous encounter at Bellator 272 ended with Pettis retaining his title with a stunning spinning-back fist knockout in the fourth round. Fans eagerly await this highly anticipated rematch, which promises to be a thrilling contest.

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