by Damon Martin – MMAWeekly.com
For fans in the United States the name Takeya Mizugaki may not ring a bell just yet, but on April 5 the Japanese fighter is hoping to make a big impression as he makes his WEC debut in a title fight against bantamweight champion Miguel Torres at WEC 40 in Chicago.
Mizugaki got the call just a few weeks back when original challenger Brian Bowles was forced out of the fight with a back injury. Now the former Shooto and Cage Force fighter is ready to show that he belongs with all the best 135-pound fighters in the world, and that’s in the WEC.
“I think WEC is the best in the world at this 135-pounds and under weight class. That is why I chose to fight in the WEC,” Mizugaki told MMAWeekly.com in an exclusive interview.
Impressed by Torres’ skills in the cage, Mizugaki knows he’s got a big mountain to climb, but he believes by doing the right research and formulating a good gameplan, he can go back to Japan with WEC gold around his waist.
“I’ve seen a couple of his fights, it’s going to be a tough fight especially at his home town, but in a way that makes everything more fun for me too,” said Mizugaki. “From now on, I am going to start searching for his weakness by watching his fights. But he didn’t lose much, so I know it’s going to be difficult.”
Mizugaki isn’t concerned about stepping into the fight against Torres on short notice. He believes that his timing and training will put him over the top when it comes fight time on April 5.
One big advantage Mizugaki will have stepping into the fight that many other newcomers to the WEC would not have is cage experience. Never having lost fighting in a cage, the Japanese based fighter has extra confidence that he’s ready for the challenge.
“I think my past experiences in the cage would help me a lot in this fight,” Mizugaki stated. “I know how to get good position off the fence and all. Also, I am undefeated in the cage, so mentally I can enter the Octagon.”
With the WEC’s bantamweight division stocking a majority of the top 135-pounders in the world, and with Miguel Torres as champion and top dog in the weight class, Mizugaki believes that winning the gold will solidify his place among the best as well.
“That means I will become number one fighter in the world at 135-pounds and under and that also means I have achieved one of my goals as pro MMA fighter,” Mizugaki said about what it would mean to be the WEC champion.
For his final days of training, Mizugaki also wanted to thank the people and sponsors around him that supported him and helped him get to this fight against Miguel Torres.
“My manager is working on sponsorship. One is a Sprawl. I believe they make best fight shorts in the world, and JONNY BEE, the apparel company based in Tokyo that has been supporting me for years, also American Spartan and Touche Salon,” he stated in closing.
Takeya Mizugaki will face Miguel Torres for the WEC bantamweight championship on April 5 in Chicago.