Credit: ONE Championship

ONE Championship’s Hayato Suzuki Wants Japanese MMA Back to the Forefront

Hayato Suzuki, a flyweight in ONE Championship, is coming off of his win at ONE Championship: Warrior’s Dream. His rear naked choke of Pongsiri Mitsatit in the first round moved him to a fantastic record of 20-1-1. The win marked his 10th submission in his professional career. I had a moment to ask him a few questions. Through a translator, we talked about his win, the future of ONE Championship, and much more.

*All answers were translated from Japanese via Google Translate. Some sentences may translate better than others*

Much like fighters in America, wrestling was where Suzuki got his start in mixed martial arts. He started wrestling early on but soon realized that it can be used for much more than just wrestling. Suzuki decided to take his career into martial arts and he has been wildly successful so far.

“I was playing wrestling with a high school and a university and had begun [MMA] immediately after university graduation.I have begun to think it’s overall martial arts that wrestling can be utilized at the time [as other martial arts]. When I believed the possibility and thought as every Japanese syllabary by the different field using a body.”

Merging Japanese Culture Back Into MMA

Japanese has two “syllabries” in their written language: Hiragana and Katakana. They also have Kanji, which is different, but going into that will lead us on a wild tangent. The point is, the Japanese use Hiragana, Katakana, and Kanji and flow throughout their written language. Hayato Suzuki does the same with his mixed martial arts training. He weaves in and out of striking, submissions, and wrestling to make sure he’s the most well rounded he can be for his competition.

Suzuki believes in ONE Championship. It’s hard to blame him. With the signing of Eddie Alvarez, Sage Northcutt and the Demetrious Johnson trade, ONE is making giant moves in the MMA world fast. He is proud to be a part of that. He wanted to fight over seas and showcase his talent. Suzuki feels he does just that in ONE Championship. “It was mentioned in a target that I play an active part overseas from the first when overall martial arts has been begun. ONE Championship is the place where I can shine most.”

As mentioned earlier, Hayato Suzuki takes his training in a more philosophical way than other fighters. Leading up to the fight he didn’t think his martial arts abilities were enough. “Not only judgment, but perfect determination is always considered. One can brace a partner perfectly from profitable posture for the fence.”

His determination showed in his fight with Mitsatit. He shot for the take down very early on and, while not getting it immediately, he persisted and found the perfect take down against the fence. He overwhelmed his opponent, as he would go on to say, and finish the fight before it could even begin.

“I thought I overwhelmed [Pongsiri Mitsatit] by wrestling and newaza from the game front. A take down, perdition keeping and a flow on the fence were also as planned.”

That New Flyweight

Speaking of Johnson, Suzuki is very optimistic about him joining ONE. He hopes to continue to grow Japanese martial arts and hopefully Johnson can play a big role in that. Make no doubt though, Suzuki wants to be world champion, Mighty Mouse or not.

“Demetrius Johnson has been added and the Japanese are paying attention to it. There is no doubt that the ONE Championship will get even more exciting. I want to become a champion, and I want to further promote ONE Championship, and I want to further promote Japanese martial arts.”

As for the future Hayato Suzuki is happy in ONE Championship. He doesn’t plan on making the move any time soon. “Everything is being offered to ONE Championship, not UFC.” He is giving his company his all. And it shows. Since joining the promotion, he is 4-1 and riding a three fight win streak. When asked what’s next, Suzuki called for the title.

I want a title match of ONE Championship. To appear on a Japanese meeting in March. I think I have a right.”

Suzuki will get just that chance. He is set to be the first defense attempt for newly crowned flyweight king, Joshua Pacio. Pacio and Suzuki fought once before back in August of 2017 where Suzuki ran through Pacio with a first round submission. Pacio is riding a 4 fight win streak with Suzuki as his last loss.

Make sure to follow Hayato Suzuki on Instagram and keep up with all his latest fight news!


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