Rinya Nakamura makes his official UFC debut this weekend. It will not be his first time competing inside the octagon but the Japanese bantamweight will be in a much bigger stage this time.
He faces Fernie Garcia at the Singapore Indoor Stadium. The event is on the UFC Singapore card and it will be Nakamura’s first time fighting in front of a big crowd.
Last time out he was competing for a contract. Nakamura faced Toshiomi Kazama in the final of the Road to UFC tournament which took place at the Apex Centre.
RINYA NAKAMURA KNOCKS HIM OUT COLD 😱
THAT is how you win #RoadToUFC!!
— UFC (@ufc) February 5, 2023
Signed and sealed
Nakamura was competing on UFC Vegas 68 in the knowledge that he probably wouldn’t get another opportunity if he lost. This time around things are different, the 28 year old has a multi fight contract signed and sealed.
He has been training in the US and says he has made some major improvements since the tournament concluded,
“I am free and not attached to any fight gyms (but) I chose ATT for this camp because it’s one of the best gyms in the world. It’s been a while since the Road to UFC, I’m a whole different fighter now,” he told UFC.com.
His father was involved in MMA in the early 1990s and owned a gym. Nakamura might have a background in wrestling but he has always wanted to be a fighter.
“My father used to own a fight club called Shooto Gym in my hometown. I grew up in that gym and dreamed of being a fighter.”
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Tatsuro Taira has blazed a trail for Japanese fighters in the UFC. The undefeated flyweight made the step up from Shooto look effortless and Nakamura shares his confidence, even if their paths to the promotion have been different.
Whereas Taira got signed at a very early age Nakamura already had a long and successful wrestling career behind him when he earned his UFC contract at the age of 28. But he believes he can have a similar impact to his compatriot who has taken the flyweight division by storm,
“I am a freestyle fighter (and) this makes my style unique. Some call it ‘Rinya Style’. I definitely pose a problem for the UFC bantamweight division.”
While Nakamura has already competed on a UFC card he regards this as his promotional debut. The 28 year old has been working hard to ensure it is a success and says he is fully prepared to face Garcia this weekend,
“It’s been some time since my last fight (but) I’m all prepared and loaded. I’m very excited for my debut.”