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Kazuhiro Nakamura released by the UFC

nakamura.jpgAccording to a new published report, light heavyweight competitor Kazuhiro Nakamura has been released by the UFC.

The move had been anticipated but was confirmed in the July 1 print edition of The Wrestling Observer.

The decision to release Nakamura was made shortly after his UFC 84 loss to Rameau Thierry Sokoudjou. In that fight, Nakamura was declared the loser via TKO following the first round due to a leg injury. Irrespective of the injury, Nakamura had been dominated by Sokoudjou during the fight’s opening round.

Nakamura had made his UFC debut at UFC 76 last September, where he lost a unanimous decision to Lyoto Machida. After the fight, the California State Athletic Commission announced it was fining and suspending Nakamura for testing positive for marijuana during his post-fight drug screening. Nakamura appealed but was unable to get the fine and suspension overturned.

Prior to entering the UFC, the 29-year old Tokyo native was considered one of the better light heavyweights competing for the PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan. Known for his colorful entrances, Nakamura recorded notable victories in PRIDE over the likes of Kevin Randleman, Daniel Gracie, pro wrestler Dos Caras Jr., former UFC middleweight champion Murilo Bustamante, K-1 standout Stefan Leko, Yuki Kondo, Evangelista “Cyborg” Santos, and Igor Vovchanchyn.

He also has lost notable fights to the likes of Dan Henderson, Josh Barnett, Wanderlei Silva, Mauricio “Shogun” Rua, and Antonio Rogerio Nogueira.

It’s uncertain as to where Nakamura will fight next. Looking at things in a purely speculative fashion, a return to Japan is possible with DREAM and World Victory Road’sSengoku” potential options. If Nakamura continues to fight in the United States, he could be a good fit for either EliteXC or Strikeforce, cost permitting.

Strikeforce light heavyweight champion Bobby Southworth is tentatively scheduled to appear on the promotion’s Playboy Mansion show in the Fall but is without an opponent. EliteXC also is in the market for a strong 205 pound fighter that could potentially challenge prospect Rafael Feijao.

The Observer goes on to add that after making wholesale cuts to its roster in recent months, the UFC is currently happy with the number of fighters it has under contract and mass releases appear to be over for the time being.

18 COMMENTS
  • Nick says:

    Nakamura needs to drop to 185lbs. He is undersized at 205 and to slow to hang with the athletic LHWs. I think he would be a terror at 185.

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  • matt says:

    Problem was that the UFC didn’t give him a fair shake. Getting matched with Machida is a nightmare and then an embarrassed Soko…jeez I’d hate to that guy. If he got the normal UFC debut of an easy fight to build up momentum and then more difficult opponents then he’d have been fun to watch. Good luck in DREAM.

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  • Two Toes says:

    “Problem was that the UFC didn’t give him a fair shake. Getting matched with Machida is a nightmare and then an embarrassed Soko”

    Yes, the UFC screwed him over by having a top 10 fighter fight against other top 10 guys. The horror of it all :( I mean really, what difference would it have been if they threw him a softball for his first match?? The outcome would have been the same.

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  • Nick says:

    @#2- who would you have had him fight? The 205lb division is STACKED in the UFC. He fought literally the bottom tier of the division and got his clock cleaned. How do you think he would have done against everyone ABOVE Soku in the division? Rampage, Liddell, Evans, Thiago Silva, Wanderlei Silva, Jardine all would beat him handily. Plus failed a drug test. He got as good of a shake as he is going to get. He belongs at 185, and I hope he finally got the hint.

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  • banter says:

    his fights were too hard? so much for the spirit of competition.

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  • matt says:

    You really ranked him in the top 10? He was top 20 and and a fight with Machida is not exactly a great way to introduce a fun fighter is it? Can you honestly say that fight was anything but to get Machida more cred?

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  • banter says:

    Matt…when Miller faced Shibata in Dream I bet you thought it was a matchup of the year, eh?

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  • Guy Gaduois says:

    I heard he and Nick Diaz mistakenly signed up for the “Nice Dreams” tour instead of ‘Dream’. Now they have to unload all of Kaz’s umbrellas from the microbus.

    It was high time for a change for Nakamura. I think his own personal vision for his drive and career had blurred. Maybe it’s glaucoma.

    Maybe he should toke on fighting at a lower weight. TAKE on, sorry.

    All these puns are of doobie – us origin.

    Cheap pot-shots, every last one. I apologize.

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  • Nick says:

    LMAO! They were so horrible they were funny!

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  • hbdale309 says:

    I would like to see Nakamura drop down to 145 and fight in the WEC.

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  • Tim Lee says:

    Dana White said over & over “if you want to stay in the UFC, you must WIN.”

    UFC = MMA Record > Exciting Fighters

    Japan = Exciting Fighters > MMA Record

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  • paddiosf says:

    Good, he never looked comfortable in the Octagon, maybe he’ll sign on with Dream..

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  • Nate says:

    He is the top 5 worst lay and pray fighters around. He sucks.

    You’d think the man was gay or just needed a hug real bad, when you watch how much he lays on top of guys.

    He is an embarrassment to the sport. Pun any good fighter against him and he will turn the match into boring.

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  • Nate says:

    Just looked at his record:
    10 w/l went to decision
    9 w/l went to sub/knockout.

    50% of the time his matches go to a decision. That is not why I watch MMA.

    His record is bad: 11wins 8 loses

    Have you seen a highlight video of him? I have, it was basically a great example of how people got out of almost every submission he has, nobody gets knocked out, and they raise his hand a lot after the decision.

    You’d think it was the disney channel.

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  • godzillad says:

    “…the 29-year old Tokyo native was considered one of the better light heavyweights competing for the PRIDE Fighting Championships in Japan”

    Who the hell’s opinion was that? Dude wasn’t great at all and never will be.

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  • Sam Caplan says:

    You must have a short memory or are new to MMA. Prior to the UFC, at one point, Nakamura was ranked as a top 10 light heavyweight by some of the bigger rankings polls out there.

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  • Mathijs says:

    Great fighter, he should join Affliction.

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  • Eggbert says:

    He is with WVR and it’s for the better.

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