Kyoji Horiguchi doesn’t see Sergio Pettis as ‘real champion’ ahead of Bellator 272 title clash

Bellator-222-Kyoji-Horiguchi-Nobuyuki-Sakakibara
PhotoCred: Cageside Press

Kyoji Horiguchi is a man on a mission.

The current RIZIN FF 135-pound bantamweight king recaptured the title he never officially lost on New Year’s Eve 2020 and hasn’t fought since. Now, Horiguchi has signed with Bellator in a rare deal that sees him remain the RIZIN champ and seeks the other title he relinquished when sidelined in all of 2020 recovering from an ACL tear.

“I’m always thinking positively. I [didn’t] think about the injury, I don’t care,” Horiguchi laughed when speaking to BJPenn.com about his return on New Year’s Eve. “I always keep training, it doesn’t matter when.

“I need the belt back first, so that’s why I don’t want to go to the UFC or somewhere else, you know. That’s why I decided [to go] with Bellator.”

Kyoji Horiguchi (29-3) came back with a vengeance to regain the RIZIN crown. Getting redemption over the only man to beat him dating back to 2015 in Kai Asakura, the American Top Team staple needed only two minutes and 48 seconds to put away his foe.

In 2021, RIZIN began their 16-man bantamweight Gran Prix which left out Horiguchi, to the initial surprise of many. The former champion in Asakura sits atop the final four as his rival watches from overseas – potentially awaiting the winner sometime next year.

First, however, he’ll have to get through the recently minted champion, Sergio Pettis (21-5).

“Right now I’m just focused on the Sergio Pettis fight,” Horiguchi said. “That’s not my decision, maybe [Nobuyuki] Sakakibara and Scott Coker, I can’t say.

“Of course, he’s a good fighter. But I think I’m the real champion – more than him, you know? So I will show up in that fight.”

Kyoji Horiguchi challenges Pettis in the main event of Bellator 272 on Dec. 3 in Uncasville, Connecticut.

This article appeared first on BJPENN.COM