Kyoji Horiguchi is out to get back the Bellator championship belt he never lost.

Horiguchi (29-3 MMA, 1-0 BMMA), who defeated Darrion Caldwell to win the bantamweight title at in June 2019, decided to vacate it just months later after sustaining a serious knee injury that required surgery.

Horiguchi went on to capture the Rizin FF bantamweight title in December 2020, but the 31-year-old is now back in Bellator to reclaim his throne. He will face Sergio Pettis in the main event of Bellator 272, which takes place Dec. 3 at Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Conn. Pettis has said he’s just “babysitting” the title for Horiguchi, and the former champion agrees.

“No, the real champion is me, so I will show up to fight,” Horiguchi told MMA Junkie.

He continued, “I’m really happy. It’s been a year since my last fight, and I will get the belt back. I’m really excited right now, and Sergio Pettis is a good opponent.”

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Having notched finishes in eight of his past 10 wins, Horiguchi will be on the hunt for a stoppage, but he admits it might not be easy against Pettis (21-5 MMA, 3-0 BMMA).

“It’s hard because he’s a tough guy,” Horiguchi said. “I always want to finish, so I don’t know if it’s first round, five rounds. I don’t know, but I want a submission or KO. …

“He’s a good striker and a good jiu-jitsu guy, and also he has good experience, so he’s dangerous everywhere. But I can beat him up.”



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