At Grandslam on July 13, 2014 former UFC fighter Shunichi Shimizu will make his debut at flyweight as he looks to make a statement in his return to the cage in Japan. MMA-in-ASIA’s John Merva caught up with him to ask a few questions.
MMA-in-ASIA: What was it that drove you to take up MMA?
Shimizu: I had been involved in judo at high school and in 2005 I decided to have a go at some amateur MMA.
MMA-in-ASIA: What would you say has been the highlight of your career so far?
Shimizu: I was really happy when I was able to take the featherweight title belt by submission at Bushido FC in June 2012.
MMA-in-ASIA: You’ve dropped down to flyweight for this fight at Grandslam, what prompted the move?
Shimizu: Obviously it was a move that I thought about for a while and there were a number of reasons, both personal and also because in January I felt that the result of my UFC fight was disappointing for me and also the people that were supporting me. Because of this, I was trying to see what new approach I could take and dropping to flyweight was one step.
MMA-in-ASIA: What was the cut like?
Shimizu: It was tough of course, but as a fighter, it’s my job and I’m ready to go!
MMA-in-ASIA: Is there anyone you have in your sights at flyweight?
Shimizu: Well, it all depends on what happens at Grandslam, but I’m looking to be back on an international level again soon.
MMA-in-ASIA: What was it like fighting in the UFC? Do you think you’ll be back there with a win at Grandslam?
Shimizu: In the Octagon there is absolutely no room for doubts and it certainly is a place for the toughest of the tough only! I think if I can put together a decent run of wins at flyweight then I can return to the UFC, but I’m happy to take my time and I’m in no rush at the moment.
MMA-in-ASIA: What sort of strategy are you going to take at Grandslam?
Shimizu: I’m going all out!!
MMA-in-ASIA: Do you have any message for fans?
Shimizu: Thank you for all your support! I will keep getting stronger and better!