The land of the rising sun has produced some of the most talented athletes in MMA history—many hardcore MMA fans debate who are the best Japanese MMA fighters in the history of the sport.
Here is our picks for the best Japanese MMA fighters in history. Check out our list below and let us know your choices for the best Japanese fighters of all time.
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No list of the best Japanese MMA fighters of all time would not be complete without The Gracie Hunter. Kazushi Sakuraba is a beloved legend of MMA, who helped put Japanese MMA on the map.
He was the national hero of Pride, who showed the might of the Japanese MMA. Sakuraba was one of the best grapplers in the world, who dominated world champions on the ground.
His wars against the Gracie clan were watched in front of audiences of close to 100,000. Sakuraba is one of the most loved fighter of all time, who will always be remembered as a pioneer.
Considered by many hardcore fans as one of the best Japanese MMA fighters ever is the grappling legend Imanari. Masakazu Imanari is one of the most influential fighters in the sport’s history.
Imanari is known as a leg lock master who has beaten some of the best in the world in both MMA and grappling. He is most known for creating his highly popular move the “Imanari roll.”
Currently, the Japanese MMA legend is still competing well into his 40s with over 63 professional matches.
Shinya Aoki is considered one of the best Japanese MMA fighters ever and one of the best, period. Aoki is a grappling wizard who has beaten some of the world’s best fighters for the last 20 years.
He has numerous highlight reel submissions, which brought us all to our feet. The MMA legend has won numerous world titles and is still looking for more as he enters his 40s.
Genki Sudo was a fan favorite of veteran MMA fans. Sudo was a skilled martial artist with exciting matches in every promotion from the UFC, Pride, and K-1.
He possessed a unique and well-rounded style and was not afraid to fight anyone at any weight class. You never saw a boring Genki Sudo fight.
Kyoji Horiguchi is undoubtedly one of the best current Japanese MMA fighters in the sport today. Horiguchi is one of the planet’s best P4P bantamweight/flyweight fighters in the world today.
In his career, Kyoji has stints in the UFC, Bellator, and RIZIN. Horiguchi has won three RIZIN world titles and the Bellator Bantamweight title within those runs.
At 33, don’t be surprised if Kyoji wins more titles in the future.