TOKYO, Sept. 25 -- At a press conference held at the GRABAKA Jiu-Jitsu club on Tuesday, popular PRIDE veteran Akihiro Gono (Pictures) officially announced his signing with the UFC. The flamboyant Japanese star is another in a growing list of fighters to depart for North American shores from the once untouchable juggernaut known as PRIDE. Gono revealed to reporters that the UFC was the only promotion that offered him a contract, and as a result he signed a four-fight deal with the company. The GRABAKA fighter went on to say that he wants to make the UFC his new home and make an impact in his Octagon debut against Tamden McCrory. "I know his fight record," Gono said of the 20-year-old McCrory. "I know that he's tall, young and has a long reach." Gono, who spent much of his time fighting at 183 pounds, said he feels the UFC 170-pound division is a much better fit for him than competing at middleweight. "For my body frame, that weight class was too heavy for me anyway," he said. "I felt a bit of pain in my knees and ankles [fighting at a heavier weight class]. My perfect weight may even be 70 kilograms (155 pounds)." The fighter further added that he felt the welterweight division -- with fighters like Georges St. Pierre (Pictures), Matt Hughes (Pictures), Matt Serra (Pictures) and Diego Sanchez (Pictures) among its ranks -- was the toughest in the UFC, but that he's made a career out of fighting with the deck stacked against him. "I've gotten used to fighting in tough situations," he said. After losing a decision to Denis Kang (Pictures) in the semifinals of last year's PRIDE 183-pound tournament, the GRABAKA stalwart went on to face fellow Pancrase legend Yuki Kondo (Pictures) at PRIDE's annual New Year's Eve event. Early in the bout both Kondo and Gono suffered broken hands, severely hindering their abilities to attack. The fight went the distance and Gono was awarded the decision. In the post-fight interview, Gono said that he was very disappointed with the unfortunate situation he found himself in and felt he couldn't put on a good display of his true ability for the fans. Gono said that is behind him and he anticipates putting on a show for American fans. When asked if he was doing any special training to prepare for fighting Stateside, Gono answered, "practicing my English for Joe Rogan." McCrory, who made a name for himself in the Cage Fury Fighting Championships, has yet to taste defeat, sporting a record of 8-0. The New York native made his inaugural mark on the UFC last June when he submitted UFC veteran Pete Spratt (Pictures) via triangle choke. While McCrory brings youth to the table, Gono, 32, definitely has the edge in experience, and the veteran's move to the UFC can be viewed as yet another nail in PRIDE's coffin. Top stars such as Wanderlei Silva (Pictures), Antonio Rodrigo Nogueira (Pictures), Dan Henderson (Pictures) and Mauricio Rua (Pictures) have already signed on the dotted line with the UFC, while other popular PRIDE fighters such as Kiyoshi Tamura (Pictures), Ikushisa Minowa, Alistair Overeem (Pictures) and Sergei Kharitonov (Pictures) have gone to the only other big promotion remaining in Japan: K-1 HERO'S. Amidst the chaotic fight scene in Japan right now, sources tell Sherdog.com that many popular fighters who starred in PRIDE such as Takanori Gomi (Pictures), Shinya Aoki (Pictures), Kazuo Misaki (Pictures), Tatsuya Kawajiri (Pictures) and Hayato Sakurai (Pictures) are waiting for their contracts to expire at the end of the year before they can field offers from other organizations. Whether they, like Gono, will find themselves fighting for the UFC remains to be seen.