The UFC is planning a trip to the Land of the Rising Sun in 2011.
Despite repeated statements from UFC president Dana White over the years, he has changed his tune and says the promotion will take a show to Japan before the year is over.
When Zuffa purchased Pride Fighting Championships a few years ago, many wondered if the promotional giant would end up doing a show in Japan, and in virtually every interview since that time White has simply said the obstacles were too great.
While the obstacles still seem to be present, White is ready to tackle the Japanese MMA scene sooner rather than later.
“(The people that didn’t want us there) are still around, but we’re going to do it,” White told MMAWeekly.com after UFC 126 ended. “See if I come out of that place alive, but we’re going to do it.”
The UFC has expanded into numerous regions of the last few years, but Japan seemed like one area they weren’t quite ready to tackle yet until now.
The MMA scene in Japan has taken quite a hit over the last few years as well with promotions like Dream struggling to maintain television deals and ratings, and Sengoku canceling shows under pressures as well.
The biggest promotion in the world now is the UFC by far, and they are ready to bring their brand of MMA back to Japan for the first time since 1997 while still under the old ownership before Zuffa purchased the company.