Japanese Vet Tatsuya Kawajiri Signs with the UFC

Tatsuya KawajiriJapanese MMA veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri is coming to an Octagon near you. Okay, maybe not near you, but he’s coming to the Octagon.

MMAWeekly.com sources confirmed an initial report by MMAJunkie.com that Kawajiri has signed with the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Kawajiri was long one of the best 155-pound fighters in the world, defeating the likes of Josh Thomson, Gesias “JZ” Cavalcante, Joachim Hansen, Yves Edwards, and others. He rose through the ranks of the Shooto organization, where he held the promotion’s 154-pound championship.

He was unable, however, to capture Dream or Strikeforce titles, losing to Shinya Aoki and Gilbert Melendez in his bids for the belt in those organizations.

Just as it seemed that Kawajiri’s career might be winding down, he shifted gears, and in 2011, dropped to the 145-pound weight class.

Now, at 35 years of age, Kawajiri has found new life, reeling off four consecutive victories at featherweight. He most recently topped Michihiro Omigawa at Dream’s New Year’s Eve event to close out 2012.

The 13-year veteran’s next stop will be the Octagon. No date or event has yet been revealed for his UFC debut, although a likely target would be the promotion’s Jan. 4 event in Singapore.

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