Tatsuya Kawajiri Signs With UFC; No Debut Date Set for Pride, Dream Veteran

By Mike Whitman Oct 22, 2013
After 13 years in MMA, Tatsuya Kawajiri is coming to the UFC. | Taro Irei/Sherdog.com

Japanese featherweight Tatsuya Kawajiri is now a member of the Ultimate Fighting Championship.

Sherdog.com on Tuesday confirmed Kawajiri’s signing with a source close to the deal following an initial report from MMAJunkie.com. No date or opponent has been set for Kawajiri’s debut, according to Sherdog’s source.

Kawajiri, 35, rides a five-fight winning streak into his UFC signing. “Crusher” last competed on New Year’s Eve 2012, when he took a unanimous decision from Michihiro Omigawa at Dream 18.

The Japanese talent began his career in 2000 within the Shooto organization, winning the promotion’s 154-pound title from Vitor Ribeiro in 2004. Kawajiri then entered Pride’s 2005 lightweight grand prix, falling to the highly-regarded Takanori Gomi in the quarterfinal round at Pride Bushido 9.

Following Pride’s dissolution, Kawajiri joined the Dream organization but stumbled against both Shinya Aoki and Gilbert Melendez in his attempts to capture the Dream and Strikeforce lightweight titles. Kawajiri then dropped to featherweight in 2011 and has yet to taste defeat, rattling off submission wins over Joachim Hansen, Kazuyuki Miyata and Donald Sanchez before outpointing Omigawa last year.


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