Starting off the year by defeating longtime Japanese superstar Sanae Kikuta, followed up by a run to the finals of SRC’s welterweight tournament, Enomoto proved quickly he was someone to watch.
Still, with his success came disappointment in the form of a loss to Keita Nakamura in the welterweight tournament finals at SRC’s Soul of Fight year end show.
“I was very disappointed with the loss against Nakamura,” Enomoto told MMAWeekly.com. “It was an extremely important fight to me and losing was no fun at all. But this is the business we are in, sometimes you win, sometimes you lose.
“Not to make excuses though, I had a lot of personal problems going on in my life and I took these into the fight. I wasn’t in the fight mentally and that is not how I set myself up for success.”
Having achieved a great level of success in Japan, Enomoto is upset by the recent happenings in the country with the natural disasters and the apparent demise of SRC.
“It makes me very sad what happened in Japan with the earthquake/tsunami and nuclear reactors,” he stated. “This is such a big tragedy and people around the globe should try to help Japan in any way possible (donations, time, resources, etc.).
“I was happy with Sengoku and it was like a fist in my face when I heard the news about Donki not sponsoring them anymore. But this is my job and I have moved past what has happened. I’m excited to start a new chapter in my career with M-1.”
As Enomoto pointed out, he is now being given a great opportunity by M-1 Global, as he replaces injured Rashid Magomedov against Shamil Zavurov for the promotion’s welterweight championship on April 28 in St. Petersburg, Russia.
“The fight against Zavurov came on very short notice, but on the other side I was already in training because I wanted to be always ready to fight,” said Enomoto of being a late replacement.
“This is my job and I am always in shape. For example, after my loss in Japan on the New Year’s SRC show, two days later I went to Thailand to train in Tiger Muay Thai straight away – training for one month, six hours a day. I hate nothing more than to do nothing.”
Enomoto feels that he has to be mindful of Zavurov’s complete game if he’s going to have a chance to take the title in Russia.
“Zavurov is an awesome fighter with a very good record,” commented Enomoto. “With any opponent, there are some points of his game which are not that strong. I am preparing for any situation that could arise and this is an exciting fight for me.”
While winning the welterweight title is the most important goal for Enomoto, he also wants to impress the fans in attendance and gain their respect as well.
“I always wanted to fight in Russia since I cornered once my brother and mentor Felipe at an MMA show in Rostov,” he said. “The Russian crowd was awesome; they are very fair and correct. They appreciate sportsmanship and entertaining fights, and that is what I want as a fighter, to get respect from the fans.”
Having had a breakthrough year in 2010 followed by disappointment, Enomoto is determined to rebound in 2011 and achieve his highest point to date.
“Thank you for the interview; it was a pleasure for me to do,” Enomoto closed out. “Like I said before, I can’t wait to fight in front of the Russian fans and put on a great and entertaining fight.
“Maybe I’ll even have some start to cheer for me and support me in future fights; that would be awesome!”