12 months ago: TOKYO, JAPAN - SEPTEMBER 06: Marc Fisher, head of UFC Asia, attends the UFC press conference at Shinjuku Wald 9 on September 6, 2011 in Tokyo, Japan. The UFC will hold the Japan Tournament on February 26, 2012.
It's no secret that Japan has a rich history in martial arts. In addition to the forms and styles that have originated there, some of the greatest MMA promotions have come from this area. We have seen many martial arts superstars come from Japan, and some of these legends still compete today.
Now, as reported by Fighter's Only Magazine, it appears that the UFC is looking to dip into this talent pool next year. Here's what they had to say:
The UFC is reportedly considering the creation of a Japanese ‘mini series' that would be used to develop talent in the region and introduce them to the Japanese audience.
Four smaller-scale shows per year would form the series, with name fighters in the headline slot and newer talent underneath them.
That's according to the UFC Managing Director of Asian Operations, Mark Fischer, who says that Japan can be considered "the home of the martial arts" and thus deserves to hold events on a regular basis
Early this year, the UFC made it's first venture into Japan in a very long time and featured a very strong card. UFC 144 delivered, and now it seems that the UFC will be going even deeper into Japan in 2013. With these four small shows, they will be showcasing Japanese talent, trying to make their connection to the Japanese audience stronger and hopefully producing new stars from that area.
Over the last few years, Dana White and the rest of Zuffa's leaders have been very vocal about their international ambitions. With shows like these, catering to smaller audiences and lower level fighters, they are clearly looking to build their roots in other nations from the bottom up. It is likely that this isn't the only international endeavor that the UFC will look to go through with in 2013, and that's a very exciting proposition. These cards will hopefully find their niche on Fuel TV or FX, and provide inside looks at upcoming talent.
This may also fit in with what Dana White described earlier this year, when he said that he wanted to get the UFC into regional MMA, providing a new spotlight for fighters everywhere. While the nation of Japan in itself is a bit ambiguous to fill the "regional" definition, this can be a great way to see upcoming talent, and hopefully can be implemented successfully all over the world.