ByAnthony Birchak, writer at
RIZIN FF Fighter 135lb UFC and Bellator Vet 2013 MFC World champ BJJ World Silver Medalist Greco/Freestyle wrestling AllAmerican
Anthony Birchak

I'm making my debut in Japan this weekend, and I can easily say I have found my home. This promotion has gone above and beyond to make me feel like family, and I could not be happier.

I signed a four-fight contract with them shortly after leaving the UFC, and already I feel much more relaxed. When I was with the UFC, there was kind of a hierarchy, kind of like when you start high school. There wasn't any hazing, but I always kind of felt like the freshman.

But I don't feel that way with Rizin; I have already been treated way better than I ever was in the UFC.

Rizin has seen how much I did on my own to promote my fight, so they bumped me up to the main event. That's not something that would ever happen in the UFC. No one is pushing out the amount of content that I am, and Rizin sees that.

The Japanese fans here are great. They have already begun to embrace me — they love when I scream with my tongue out. It's going to be so much fun showing off more of my personality.

I think the hardest thing about fighting here is obviously the language barrier, but even the mannerisms are different. It's nothing like fighting in Brazil or Canada, where there are similar languages. But the promotion has been so incredibly helpful with getting me the right info.

Cutting weight this time around has been pretty easy. I'm used to the cuisine here, and despite what some other fighters told me, I haven't had a problem finding something to eat. I eat this type of food all the time anyways, and I'm pretty adventurous, so I am looking forward my post-weigh-in meals.

As far as my opponent, , he's a tremendous fighter, and everyone knows him because he has fought the best in the world. When I beat him I will solidify my spot as one of the best in the world: that's my goal.

I want to go out and put on a tremendous fight for my fans and the Japanese people. Kawajiri is one of those salt of the earth kind of guys that they don't make anymore, but I am the new generation and it's my time.

Watch me fight Kawajiri this weekend.


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