While former Sengoku and Shooto fighter Hatsu Hioki hasn’t officially signed with the UFC yet, he’s going to do some training in the U.S. and Canada just to help him prepare if it does happen.
Hioki, who is currently ranked No. 4 in the MMAWeekly World MMA rankings, has been rumored to be negotiating with the UFC while searching for a new fight home.
The Japanese featherweight attended UFC 131 in Vancouver over the weekend, and will now be taking his talents to Canada and the United States to get some training in as well.
Hioki has worked in the U.S. before including a stint as a training partner for Kenny Florian prior to his bout with B.J. Penn at UFC 101 in 2009.
This go round, Hioki is currently in Montreal working alongside coach Firas Zahabi and UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre at the Tristar Gym.
Hioki is expected to work on his cage mechanics just in case he does end up signing with a U.S. promotion, because for the majority of his career he’s fought in a ring.
The Japanese featherweight will remain in the U.S. while training in Montreal, and will also attend this weekend’s Strikeforce show in Dallas to watch the next round of the Heavyweight Grand Prix. Following the trip to Dallas, Hioki will head back to Japan to continue his training and wait to hear word on his next fight.
While Hioki has yet to make any official decisions about signing with the UFC or any promotion, he’s preparing for life outside the ring just in case.
Hioki would be another top addition to the growing featherweight roster in the UFC including several former lightweights that have made the drop to 145 pounds. If he’s signed to the UFC, Hioki would immediately become a contender in the division, but will get no free passes with the division being as deep as it’s ever been.
Damon Martin is the lead staff writer and radio host for MMAWeekly.com.
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