FightStylez interview with Darren Uyenoyama. UFC On FOXNov 10 2011, Posted in: Fighters, Fighters video
Although most casual MMA fans may not be too familiar with Uyenoyama, he has fought around the world and shall bring a wealth of experience with him into the UFC Octagon. Boasting a 6-3 overall MMA record, Uyenoyama’s career already includes appearances in various major Japanese MMA leagues, such as Deep, Dream, and Shooto, as well as an undefeated run in Strikeforce.
FightStylez recently caught up with Uyenoyama, and had a chance to pick the brain of the latest UFC bantamweight recruit.
Despite Uyenoyama’s fight career, which now spans over 9 years, he fully understands that the UFC is a different animal in terms of competition, as well as the true pinnacle of mixed martial arts. However, he’s both physically and mentally ready to compete.
“My training regimen consists of working out sometimes 2-3 times a day. Monday, Wednesday, [and] Friday tend to be the heavy sparring days. Saturday [is] my heavy grappling day. Usually in the mornings we’re doing MMA training, and then later in the afternoon it’s boxing training, and then in the evening more grappling. Tuesdays and Thursdays, we’re doing really hard conditioning, so…I can peak at the right time, and really push the pace to demonstrate how fast-paced the bantamweights can be.”
Uyenoyama’s fight in the UFC will be contested under the Unified Rules of MMA as opposed to Japanese league rules, but he is well aware of what is ahead of him.
“We’re dealing with the aspect of the cage, which is huge. 5-minute rounds as opposed to a 10-minute first round, which I prefer…Plus, the incorporation of elbows. In Japan, there’s no elbows…but, now there’s no knees allowed to the head, which I used to have to train to be prepared for. So, that’s a benefit. No kicking of a downed opponent too, which makes my life a lot more pleasant.”
Debuting in the UFC, in and of itself, is sentimental to the 32-year-old, Brazilian Jiu Jitsu black belt, and brings back memories of his childhood as a long time MMA fan.
“Debuting in the UFC is pretty meaningful in the sense that…when I first started watching it, I was watching UFC 1 on a black box at my friend’s house…and I never thought that one day that I would be there. I never thought that I would be a black belt in jiu jitsu either. But, things just kind of followed in order, and it just so happened,” said Uyenoyama.
“I’m not trying to put any additional pressure on myself, and just trying to enjoy the experience. I’m just looking to display my skills. This is my first opportunity to show the U.S. market…and U.S. fans what I can do.”
Not only does Uyenoyama feel that his UFC debut is momentous at a personal level, but he also appreciates the impact of the UFC premiering on network television as a defining moment in the sport‘s history.
“To debut on the UFC on Fox is actually a big opportunity. I was pretty shocked, actually, that my offer was for such a big show, especially with a headliner like Cain Velasquez vs. Junior Dos Santos. I anticipated that my UFC debut would be on a smaller show.”
Uyenoyama added, “The first time they called me was for the UFC in Brazil, which was a pretty big card, and I wanted to fight on the same card as my heroes like Nogueira [and] Forrest Griffin. But now, I get to fight here in the States, in L.A., and people even without cable can be able to watch it, and I think that’s the most exciting part.”
With laser sharp focus heading into his UFC debut, Uyenoyama is very familiar with his opponent, Norifumi “Kid” Yamamoto.
“Kid is a former K-1 Heroes champion, and has accomplished a lot fighting at heavier weights…He’s one of the pioneers of lightweights in MMA, or flyweights and bantamweights. At the peak of his career, the UFC and WEC didn‘t really have our weight class at the time. So, now he‘s fighting in the UFC. He last fought Demetrious Johnson, and he’s trying to make a bang here in the UFC,” said Uyenoyama.
Despite his fight career progressing as it has, Darren Uyenoyama has always stayed humble and grounded, and his goal as a competitor is to reach his true potential and be remembered.
“My goal is just to meet my maximum potential, and to experience a fight where I feel no hesitation or no hold back. And, it’s just a sense that I guess I’ll get when I’m in the ring…I just want to be that fighter that people remember and say, “Damn, that guy was good.’”
Darren Uyenoyama’s debut, as well as an otherwise stacked card will be on display this Saturday at UFC on Fox. It won’t be one to miss.
Stay tuned for more to come from FightStylez.
By: Alan J. Chang, FightStylez
Video, Video Editing, Photography by: Dave Fong