Horiguchi didn’t stay a free agent for long.
In a Monday press release, Japanese promotion
Rizin Fighting Federation announced the signing of the
26-year-old Horiguchi, who has spent the last three years and
change in the Ultimate Fighing Championship’s flyweight division.
Horiguchi will make his debut for Rizin FF at “Rizin 2017 in
Yokohoma” on April 16 at the Yokohama Arena.
“I’ve left the UFC and I’m coming back to Japan. When I was a high
school student, it was Pride that made me aim to become a fighter,
so to get this opportunity from Mr. [Rizin CEO Nobuyuki] Sakakibara
is somewhat strange,” Horiguchi said in a statement, which featured
a picture of him posed arm-in-arm with Sakakibara.
“I will show the skill and heart cultivated in the UFC’s tough
environment to the fans of Japan.”
In the release, Sakakibara re-affirmed that Rizin FF was looking to
sign an international contingent of top flyweights and establish
the division as a prominent piece of the upstart promotion.
A former Shooto world champion at 132 pounds, Horiguchi made his
UFC debut at UFC 166 in October 2013, knocking out Dustin
Pague in the second round. Horiguchi, a product of “Kid”
Yamamoto‘s team Krazy Bee who now trains with American Top
Team, went 7-1 in his UFC tenure. His lone loss came in his April
2015 title challenge against pound-for-pound king and UFC champ
Johnson, where he was submitted with one second left in the
On Wednesday, Horiguchi will attend a Rizin FF press conference in
Tokyo where it is expected that his opponent, as well as other
bouts for the April 16 card in Yokohama, will be revealed.