Hioki Vacates Shooto Title, Eyes Move to ‘New Stage’


  • Share on Tumblr
  • submit to reddit
Hatsu Hioki is Shooto 143-pound world champion no more.

The world-ranked featherweight Tuesday issued a statement announcing that he has vacated his title in anticipation of an extended leave from the organization, in which he has fought the majority of his nearly nine-year professional career.

“At this time, I’ve returned the Shooto world lightweight title,” wrote Hioki, who won the belt with a May 2010 split decision over then-champ “Lion” Takeshi Inoue. “There is a pride in wearing the Shooto world title, but I think that in the near future I would like to challenge a new stage of pride.”

Hioki went on to state that he will remain closely tied to pro Shooto, as well as the amateur Shooto scene in Nagoya, Hioki’s birthplace and base camp at Alive gym.

Hioki, 27, has for months been rumored to be eying a leap stateside, likely to compete in the UFC’s newly formed featherweight division. While Hioki did not cite a promotion by name in his statement, Sherdog.com has learned from a source close to the fighter that Hioki will be in attendance at UFC 131 in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, on June 11.

Public comments from Zuffa officials have also indicated that Hioki’s presence would be welcomed with open arms.

“If Hioki wanted in the UFC, I would be happy to have him,” UFC Matchmaker Sean Shelby told MMAFighting.com in February. “I wasn’t looking to add talent until June or July, but I would make room for Hioki at any point.”

Shelby noted at the time that there had been no negotiations between the UFC and Hioki’s management due to Hioki’s contract with Sengoku Raiden Championship promoter World Victory Road. The future of SRC is currently unknown, the company having fallen virtually silent since funding from main sponsor Don Quijote was pulled in January.

Hioki has long been considered one of MMA’s finest 143-pounders, a reputation he upheld in claiming Marlon Sandro’s SRC featherweight title on Dec. 30 with a stunning five-round performance. The “Iron Broomstick” returned to the Shooto ring April 29, where submitted King of the Cage bantamweight champ Donald Sanchez via second-round triangle choke.

Sporting a record of 24-4-2, Hioki has been defeated only once in his past 14 fights, a highly contentious split decision loss to Michihiro Omigawa in November 2009. Hioki has twice beaten current UFC contender Mark Hominick and also holds notable victories over Rumina Sato, Jeff Curran and Ronnie Mann.

view original article >>

Related News

  • 26 days ago
  • 50 views

Lyoto Machida spoke with the media on Wednesday about his upcoming middleweight title fight against champion Chris Weidman and mentioned the possibility of fighting at welterweight. more

  • 16 days ago
  • 27 views

UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright explained the promotion’s decision to move the Jon Jones-Alexander Gustafsson light-heavyweight title fight from Toronto to Las Vegas and calls the switch a ‘realistic’ one. UFC director of Canadian operations Tom Wright believes the promotion's decision to move UFC 178 from Toronto to Las Vegas was a "realistic" one. Home to some of the biggest fight in the history of combat sports, Las Vegas was a prime location to host the highly anticipated rema more

  • 27 days ago
  • 75 views

Ronda Rousey might have an opportunity to prove her point. In a recent interview on The Great MMA Debate podcast, Rousey said "judo fighters that are good on the ground never really got the respect they deserved" and that she "can beat any BJJ girl in the world, gi or no-gi, any weight division, black belt all the way in any rule setting." The current lightweight and open class jiu-jitsu world champion, Bia Mesquita heard her quotes and wants to challenge the UFC bantamweight champion. "She’s co more

  • 27 days ago
  • 23 views

WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje previews his NBC-televised title fight against Nick Newell on Saturday. more

  • 27 days ago
  • 32 views

On Saturday, WSOF lightweight champion Justin Gaethje meets fellow undefeated fighter Nick Newell in the promotion’s first event to air on NBC. Watch the full video of Gaethje’s destruction of Dan Lauzon.Filed under: Featured Videos, News, Videos, WSOF more

  • 26 days ago
  • 12 views

Former world title challenger Sara McMann returns to the Octagon on August 16 to face unbeaten newcomer Lauren Murphy in a bantamweight bout at UFC Fight Night in Bangor, Maine. more

  • 24 days ago
  • 49 views

UFC Women's Bantamweight Champion Ronda Rousey looks to defend her title for the 4th consecutive time against Alexis Davis for UFC 175. Is Davis the proverbial lamb headed toward the slaughter, or something more? Ronda Rousey vs. Alexis Davis Women's Bantamweight Wait...I thought Ronda Rousey was fighting Floyd Mayweather? That seems to be the angle the UFC would love to go in. Well I'm sure a black man fighting a white woman would do big business for the Earth, and potentially beyond, I'm not s more

  • 24 days ago
  • 25 views

A shot at the World Series of Fighting lightweight championship is on the line in Gesias Cavalcante vs. Melvin Guillard, but the Brazilian is not thinking about it heading into his WSOF 11 fight with the UFC veteran. Cavalcante, a two-time K-1 Hero’s tournament winner, won’t let a possible shot at the gold change his focus at Saturday’s WSOF card in Daytona Beach, Florida. "My motivation is the fight, not a title shot," Cavalcante told MMAFighting.com. "I see every fight as a title for me now. I more

  • 23 days ago
  • 24 views

World Series of Fighting (WSOF) makes its NBC Network debut with a few afternoon beatdowns, including a lightweight title fight at WSOF 11: "Gaethje vs. Newell," which goes down TODAY (Sat., July 5, 2014) live from inside Ocean Center in Daytona Beach, Florida. Get complete, official results, LIVE updates and real-time coverage RIGHT HERE. World Series of Fighting (WSOF) returns with its most important show yet, including the promotion's biggest title fight to date at WSOF 11: "Gaethje vs. Newel more