Some Fun Facts About Tatsuya Kawajiri Ahead of UFC Fight Night 34

- At 35 years of age, Tatsuya "Crusher" Kawajiri (born May 8, 1978) will be the oldest man to enter the octagon on Saturday night when he faces off against undefeated UFC newcomer Sean Soriano. He is currently the second oldest fighter in the featherweight division after Mike Brown. Coincidentally, Hawaii's Max Holloway (born December 4, 1991), the youngest fighter in the division and fourth youngest fighter in the UFC, will also be fighting that night. There is a 13 year age difference between Kawajiri and Holloway.

- To put that into further perspective, Kawajiri began fighting a full year before recent addition to the FW division BJ Penn (2000 vs. 2001) and 4 years before division king Jose Aldo.

- Kawajiri actually first had the opportunity to join the UFC back in 2007 when Zuffa acquired Pride FC. Although he was close to signing, he eventually decided against joining the UFC, instead agreeing to a contract for the Yarennoka! event put together by former Pride and FEG executives. Yarrenoka! eventually resulted in the formation of the now-defunct Dream organization. Kawajiri would fight for Dream until it ceased business operations in 2012.

- This fight will also mark the 7th time Kawajiri has fought on the week of the New Year. In Japan, he competed in 6 New Year's Eve fight cards and is 5-1 in those fights, his only loss coming against Gilbert Melendez.

- All of Kawajiri's losses in the past decade have come at the hands of fighters who either were or eventually became champions of major MMA organizations. Takanori Gomi (Pride LW Grand Prix winner), Gilbert Melendez (Strikeforce LW champion), Eddie Alvarez (Bellator LW champion), and Shinya Aoki (Dream and ONE FC LW champion). Those four fighters have a combined record of 116 wins to only 21 losses.

- Kawajiri's only other loss during this time period came during the 2009 K-1 World MAX tournament in a kickboxing bout against Japanese sensation Masato. Coming in hot off of a KO win over a past-his-prime Kozo Takeda, people were interested to see if Kawajiri's power could frustrate the 2008 K-1 World MAX champion. Although he clearly displayed power in his hands as well as tons of heart and chin, Kawajiri was outclassed by the much faster and technical Masato, forcing Kawajiri's corner to stop the fight. Masato would fight one more time after this before retiring, besting Dutch legend Andy Souwer in an exciting 5 round affair.

- Sean Soriano, Kawajiri's opponent on Saturday night, is actually a teammate of Eddie Alvarez' at the Blackzilian Jaco Hybrid Training Center. Gesias Cavalcante, another member of the Blackzilians team has also faced Kawajiri although unlike Alvarez, he was unable to best him.

- Prior to Saturday, Kawajiri has only fought outside of Japan twice in his career. Once in San Diego in the aforementioned loss to Gilbert Melendez at Strikeforce: Diaz vs. Daley and once in Singapore in a win over Donald Sanchez at ONE FC: War of the Lions. Kawajiri was famously afraid of flying, a fear he has since overcome.

- UFC Fight Night 34 will actually mark the third time that Kawajiri and Katsunori Kikuno have shared a fight card; they have both also fought at the Fight for Japan 2011 and Dream 15 events. At Fight for Japan 2011, Kawajiri choked out wrestler Kazuyuki Miyata while Kikuno knocked out kickboxer Yuichiro Nagashima. At Dream 15, Kikuno lost a split decision battle to Gesias Cavalcante while Kawajiri's night ended in a trip to the hospital after Shinya Aoki slapped on a nasty and memorable achilles lock 2 minutes into the first round. This fight would be Kawajiri's one and only title shot in the Dream organization.

- Kawajiri is sponsored by a canned tuna company called "Inaba". Kawajiri claims that the high protein and low fat content of tuna makes it an important part of his diet.

- Kawajiri is close friends with longtime MMA veteran Hayato Sakurai who he considers his mentor. Both hail from Ibaraki Prefecture just north of Tokyo. In his long career, Sakurai has faced a who's who of MMA fighters including Caol Uno, Frank Trigg, Matt Hughes, Anderson Silva, Jake Shields, Ryo Chonan, Aoki, Jens Pulver, Gomi, and Nick Diaz.

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