ONE Championship has been making big moves recently, and has added another well-known name to their stable by acquiring Yoshihiro Akiyama.
ONE Championship has recently signed fighters like Demetrious “Mighty Mouse” Johnson, Eddie Alvarez, and is well on their way to signing Sage Northcutt. The promotion also added Meisha Tate as an executive. The signing of Yoshihiro Akiyama continues ONE’s push for a global audience.
Akiyama is a huge name in Asia, starring in reality shows and being a top figure in judo. After a judo career that included multiple gold medals, Akiyama shifted to mixed martial arts in 2004. “Sexyama” won 13 of his first 14 fights, including a victory over the legendary Kazushi Sakuraba that was overturned due to greasing.
The excellent career overseas earned him a contract with the UFC, debuting at UFC 100 and earning the Fight of the Night with a victory over Alan Belcher. Akiyama went on to have good moments in the Octagon, including two more Fight of the Nights, but only a 1-5 record to show for it following the debut. His last action came in 2015 when he lost a split decision against Alberto Mina.
On Twitter, Yoshihiro Akiyama called ONE Championship his “last challenge.” Akiyama is currently 43 years old and has been regularly training with Busan Team MAD alongside other top-tier South Korean fighters.
ONE Championship and RIZIN have been making waves in recent days with many big name signings. While RIZIN is putting together a New Year’s card to remember featuring Floyd Mayweather among others, ONE Championship has been building an impressive roster of talent as they look to expand in Japan. Competition is great for the sport of MMA, and with RIZIN and ONE making their pushes at similar times, expect Asia to become a major player in the sport once again.