Kyoji Horiguchi isn’t overly upset by his cancelled fight with Ray Borg earlier this year.
“Honestly, I don’t care, you know?” Horiguchi (31-5) told Cageside Press in a recent exclusive interview. “I’m a little disappointed with him. He’s not professional. It is what it is. I actually was believing him that he was going to make weight, but what happened was what happened.”
The mishap seems to have worked out in the end. Borg badly blew weight for Bellator 295 in April, then retired from the sport. Horiguchi is now fighting Makoto Shinryu at Bellator x RIZIN this weekend, for the inaugural Bellator MMA flyweight championship.
“I’m really happy, because Bellator opened a new weight class, flyweight. So I’m really happy, and I will get the belt,” said Horiguchi. The Japanese star, a former UFC title challenger and ex-RIZIN and Bellator MMA bantamweight champ, has been campaigning for Bellator to open a flyweight division for a while. We spoke to him about it last year, but Horiguchi understands that the process takes time.
“I guess it’s hard, because fighters, and date. They offer [contracts to] new fighters, a lot of things to do,” Horiguchi noted. “Right now it’s open, so I’m really happy.”
The introduction of a flyweight title in Bellator means Horiguchi has the opportunity to become a two-fight champ, having already held gold at 135lbs. There’s also the possibility of moving up to become double champ, but that’s for another day.
“Honestly, I’m just focused on the next belt. Flyweight belt,” said Horiguchi. “Maybe in the future [I’ll try for another], not right now.” But there is a second belt he will pursue if the opportunity presents itself: a RIZIN flyweight title. “Yeah, of course. I will get the belts.”
Horiguchi made history by holding both the RIZIN and Bellator MMA bantamweight titles at the same time, until an injury forced him to relinquish both. It’s clear he’s game for making that attempt against.
As for flyweight, it seems like a return was inevitable. But Horguchi said simply that it “it depends, you know? It depends,” when asked if he always expected to make a 125lb return. As for the motivation, he feels stronger in the weight class. “I think so. More stronger, and the sizes are not different,” he added, indicating height.
The weight cut is not an issue either. “Weight cut is always easy, because my weight is low. I’m light. That part is easy for me.”
Recent UFC flyweight title winner Alexandre Pantoja credited Horiguchi for his support ahead of his own title fight earlier this month.
“He learned from me, and I learned from him,” Horiguchi said of that praise. “It’s a good teammate.” Those sort of training partners are what drew Horiguchi to Florida’s American Top Team. “I want to go to a high level, that’s why. Training partners also need a high level. That’s why I’m here.”
We also polled Horiguchi for his pick in the upcoming Tyson Fury vs. Francis Ngannou boxing match. “It’s a really, really fun fight. I think [Fury], I think he’s going to win, because he’s a boxer,” he predicted. “It’s a totally different sport, that’s why.”
Horiguchi has in the past suggested he would try his hand at the sweet science. “Yeah, it’s going to be fun. If somebody calls me and [we] make good money, of course I will do that.”
Watch the our full interview with Bellator x RIZIN flyweight Kyoji Horiguchi above.