While 2016 has not been the busiest year in terms of fights for undefeated welterweight prospect James Nakashima, it has been a growing year.
Injuries have kept Nakashima from fighting all but once so far in 2016, but he’s been able to use the time wisely and more fully develop his game.
“I’ve had a few injuries and that’s the only reason I’ve been out,” Nakashima told MMAWeekly.com. “Adversity is just one of those things you have to get through in MMA.
“With a broken hand, I wasn’t able to do much wrestling or jiu-jitsu, or hit with it or anything, so all I was able to work on was my one hand with my boxing coach, and that’s one thing I was able to build. I’ve definitely built on my skillset.”
In his lone fight this past February against Brad Darrington at RFA 35, Nakashima once again won a unanimous decision for the fifth straight time, but he feels he was able to be more proactive than before in the bout.
“Every fight, I’m opening up more and more,” said Nakashima. “In the practice room, I’m always a little more aggressive than I am in my competition. That’s one thing: I’m getting more comfortable in cage, the more I start to open up.
“Even though I wasn’t able to finish, I was happy with my tenacity and aggressiveness.”
Nakashima (5-0) will look to continue his winning streak when he takes on Dez Hill (8-3) in a co-main event welterweight bout at RFA 46 on Friday in Branson, Mo.
“I feel like I’m a race horse ready to come right out of the gate,” Nakashima said. “I’m looking at (using) calculated aggression.
“To me it’s not so much about my opponent. All I can focus on is me, and taking care of the things I can take care of. If I totally submit to the things that I’ve been working on and growing to and my strategy, I think things will be just fine.”
After missing so much time in 2016, Nakajima is eager to be as active as he can in the coming months and work his way up the welterweight ranks.
“If I can stay healthy in this fight, I would love to fight the next week after that or two weeks after that,” said Nakashima. “I’m well-prepared, well-coached, so my goal for 2017 is staying healthy. I love this game, and I’m ready to string off some fights.”