Isao Kobayashi expects to face Yoshinori Horie or Taichi Nakajima next
The identity of the opponent will be decided at Pancrase 317 according to Kobayashi,
“My next challenger will be the winner of (Taichi) Nakajima and (Yoshinori) Horie, so I’ll be keeping my eyes on that,” he said.
Of course any title fight would be contingent on the winner of that eliminator emerging unscathed. Kobayashi wants to fight again before the end of the year and doesn’t mind whether it’s a title bout or not,
“I don’t have any big injuries so I’ll see how I feel and get back to training. It’s difficult to tell how the MMA industry is going for now, so if not this autumn, then winter is fine (for my next fight).”
He is also open to fighting any opponent the promotion puts forward,
“There’s no one in particular but I’ll be ready to negotiate when whoever comes up in talks. I think if it’s someone aggressive it’ll be a fun fight. With that kind of fighter, I’ll be more aggressive.”
Kobayashi took on Akira Okada last week. He scored a decision win and was frustrated not to finish the job inside the distance,
“It’s important to get the finish, I was looking for the finish but he kept getting away so I felt that was where I was lacking.”
However Kobayashi is content to have emerged victorious after a potentially tricky assignment against a big and powerful opponent,
“I feel relieved to get the win. He pretty much came at me as I’d expected, so I thought it went well. When you look back on a fight you realize you could’ve done this or that but overall I thought I did well.”
Pancrase 317 is set for Tokyo on August 23rd. Kobayashi will be a keen observer and a featherweight title bout with UFC veteran Horie would be a mouthwatering prospect for fans of Japanese MMA.