Having been nearly a year since he defeated Daniel Weichel at Bellator 210 via split-decision, lightweight Goiti Yamauchi has been working to change his game as to be a different fighter when he returned to fighting.
In particular, Yamauchi feels like he’s grown as a person, and as such that will reflect in the kind of fighter he is in 2019 compared to the past.
“I’m getting older,” Yamauchi told MMAWeekly.com. “I’m getting more experienced. I’ve learned a lot about myself. I’ve learned a lot about work ethic. I’ve learned about to push the limits every day.
“It’s a different mindset. It’s a different Goiti Yamauchi now. I think people can expect the best version of myself.”
Yamauchi feels like the fighter people saw in his win over Weichel will be unrecognizable in the fighter he is now as the changes he has made have resulted in a completely new competitor.
“It’s been a long time, one year, and one year there’s a lot that I’ve changed,” said Yamauchi. “My mindset is different. The way I see things is different. I’m looking to get better over and over, more and more, and just want to learn and keep doing my thing.
“It’s a new chapter for me. A lot of things happened in my career. It’s a lot of bad situations, a lot of good situations, I feel in my prime. I feel like I’m ready to put on the performance of my life. Not only this (upcoming) fight, but all the fights, I will be a different guy.”
On Friday in Temecula, California, Yamauchi (23-4) will look to showcase the new version of himself against Saad Awad (23-11) in the 155-pound co-main event of Bellator 229.
“What I have to do to win is just fight,” Yamauchi said. “In my mind (Awad is) already beat. Mentally he’s already beat. So it’s about heart, and I’ll do the same (and fight) with heart.”
For Yamauchi the coming year is not only about ascending to the top of the lightweight division, but establishing himself as the best fighter Bellator has regardless of weight class.
“My goal is just to be the best; not just the best lightweight; but the best fighter in Bellator,” said Yamauchi. “I want to be the #1 pound for pound.
“I don’t want to just be a champion; I want to be the best champion. My goal is to be lightweight champion, and I want to defeat all the former champions, and be the best champion.”