Victor Henry has made his name fighting in Japan. He is the reigning Deep bantamweight champion and will be making his Rizin debut next week.

Henry faces Trent Girdham at Rizin 18. He will be looking to make it seven wins in a row but is expecting a serious challenge from the Australian,

“He has international experience and I know he has trained over at Tiger Muay Thai. He’s Australian and a bunch of Australians have real good kickboxing and Muay Thai skill so I know he’s going to be real technical.”

Henry is a decade older than his opponent and is well aware of the age difference,

“He’s young so he’s got that going for him. And I don’t know him to be the type to turn down challenges so he’s going to be a tough kid.”

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Big opportunity

Having fought for both Pancrase and Deep this will be Henry’s first time fighting for Japan’s biggest MMA promotion. He says the opportunity came up after his submission win over Yuki Motoya at Deep 88,

“Right after I won the Deep title my managerĀ  came up to me and said, ‘hey the promoter from Rizin is actually interested in you, is that something you want to pursue?’ And I was like, ‘yeah, I’m down to fight wherever and whoever’. So ever since then we’ve kind of been in talks going here back and forth. And finally we reached agreement. So here we are.”

Henry’s six fight winning streak has been achieved across fights in Russia, Japan and the U.S.. He’s never won seven in a row before and says this recent form is a result of confidence,

“I didn’t really change anything as far as my fight camps it’s just my mentality has changed towards fighting and I’ve upped the intensity. But I’m pretty much always in the gym, in and out. I don’t just go when I have a fight I’m training all the all the time and working on new skills.”

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Nomadic career

Henry’s career has been nomadic. It’s taken him to multiple countries and seen him fight for numerous promotions and the 32 year old doesn’t expect this to change now that he’s signed with Rizin,

“Rizin put on great shows and you they always support the fighters but I’ve always been the type just to say, ‘if there’s a fight over there, I’m gonna go over there’.”

For this reason Henry doesn’t share the same obsession with the UFC that seems to beset a lot of his compatriots in the sport,

“I get the question all the time: ‘why not UFC?’ For me, it’s always been about fighting it’s never been about organisations. I am loyal to organisations when they sign me and I want to go and do the best I can for them and rep their flag but ultimately I’m in it for the fight.”

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Title prospects

Kyoji Horiguchi is the current Rizin bantamweight champion. He will be headlining the event in Nagoya and Henry knows a win over Girdham could leave him in line for a title shot.

The American’s willingness to travel all over the world and his ‘anyone, anytime’ mentality has paid dividends. He’s scaling the pinnacle of the sport and a win at Rizin 18 could earn him a shot at arguably the best bantamweight in the world.