Satoshi Ishii signs with Sengoku

One of the sport’s most sought after free agents has finally made his decision. is reporting that 2008 Olympic Judo gold medalist, Satoshi Ishii, has signed with World Victory Road to fight for their Sengoku brand.

Back in August the 22-year-old followed up his championship performance in Beijing by announcing that he wished to convert to MMA and fight Fedor Emelianenko. With MMA seemingly flickering out in the land of the rising sun, he was considered a choice prospect for both of Japan’s leading promoters, DREAM and Sengoku.

Over the course of the following months, PRO MMA ( has been following rumors he had signed with both DREAM and Sengoku, but the true bombshell came in December when Ishii was quoted by Nikkan Sports as saying “The UFC is where I want to fight.” It appears Ishii has decided to go ahead and get his feet wet with Sengoku seeing as how the UFC was not ready to sign the judo champion.

Ishii, who recently returned from training with Lyoto Machida for his title fight with Rashad Evans, will not have to wait much longer to fight. World Victory Road director Takahiro Kokuho has stated the judoka could debut as early as August 2nd with New Year’s Eve as the latest possible date.

Although terms for the two-year contract were not disclosed, it was noted that Ishii would be allowed to compete for other promotions outside the confines of Japan.

Here is a video about Ishii’s UFC visit and training with Randy Couture: Satoshi Ishii video

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