Ueda, A former Shooto featherweight champion, takes on bantamweight kingpin Bibiano Fernandes on Friday in Manila, Philippines, and feels ready to end Fernandes’ win streak with a dominant victory to become the new champion.
"I think I can match him everywhere," Ueda told MMAFighting.com. "If he wants to strike, I will strike with him. If he wants to grapple with me, he must be careful of my submission skills. There is no area where he has a clear advantage over me."
Ueda earned his shot at the gold after defeating Kevin Belingon, Jens Pulver and Min Jung Song in the 135-pound tournament, and he is confident that his run at One FC was the perfect set-up for a title bout against Fernandes.
"He is very tough. In this sport, it is very hard to chain such an impressive run, especially facing opponents of his caliber," he said. "But I have won the GP by beating three people in a row, proving that I can go on a winning streak as well. I expect this fight to be the toughest of our lives. Whoever wins this will have proven that he is among the greatest at the weight class."
A decorated jiu-jitsu specialist, Fernandes was able to submit only two opponents in his current seven-fight win streak, but Ueda won’t underestimate his abilities on the ground.
"I think it's because he's the champion and people are all gunning for him, it's harder to surprise people anymore," he said. "Your opponent will specifically train for months to counter your style. He also had many incidences when he came close to the finish so it's not like he has been resting."
He didn’t train focused on the ground game, though.
"Since winning the GP last year, I had a lot of time to prepare myself for this bout," Ueda said. "I have been training for this fight for almost a year and I am ready to go battle again. I still train in every aspect. We did work a few techniques specifically to counter Bibiano's game."
"(I don’t think I’m) underrated, but maybe under the radar," he said. "I'm not a typically flashy inside or outside the cage so maybe that has been why not so much attention has been paid to me. But I like it that way. I want people to not talk about me and only talk to me when I defeat my opponents."
Ueda expects to change it by winning the One FC bantamweight championship on Friday.
"It will be the biggest coup and biggest achievement in my life," he said. "I want to prove that I am the best in the world and beating a legend like Bibiano will be huge."
"I was always sure that this is what I wanted to do for as long as I can," he continued. "This has been the only thing I know how to do in my life and I can't wait to validate that with a victory and bring the One FC world championship back to Japan."