Reports out of Japan state that the former Olympic judoka is set to debut for Strikeforce as early as Feb. 12, but Strikeforce CEO Scott Coker told MMA Fighting on Wednesday that the organization has not come to terms with Ishii.
Coker admitted that both sides are in negotiations, and according to sources within Strikeforce, the organization is hopeful of signing Ishii. Even if Ishii does sign with Strikeforce, Strikeforce officials say the 24-year-old isn't being considered for either the Feb. 12 show in New Jersey or the Feb. 18 show in Austin, Texas.
According to DEEP featherweight champion Koichiro Matsumoto (via Nightmare of Battle), Ishii is considering fighting at light heavyweight in Strikeforce.
Ishii famously flirted with the UFC in 2008, publicly stating that his first choice was to sign with the Las Vegas-based organization. However, that deal never came about. Should he fight for Strikeforce in the near future, it would mark the first time he fights in North America.
Ishii won a gold medal in judo at the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. He made his MMA debut on Dec. 31, 2009, losing to Hidehiko Yoshida. Since then, he's won his last four fights in a row, most recently against Jerome Le Banner at Dynamite!! 2010.