Veteran Featherweight Tatsuya Kawajiri Has Requested a Release from His UFC Contract

By Tom Taylor - October 17, 2016

Late last month, a disgruntled interim featherweight champion in Jose Aldo requested a release from his UFC contract. Having made no secret of the fact that he feels he’s being treated unfairly, the Brazilian has set his sights on greener pastures – perhaps even in another sport.

Not long after Aldo’s surprising request, streaking female bantamweight Julianna Peña suggested that she too was interested in leaving the UFC. She made this statement shortly after it was announced that former champion Ronda Rousey would be jumping the contendership line for a UFC 207 title fight with Amanda Nunes.

This week, another fighter has followed suit and requested a release from their UFC contract. That fighter is Japanese featherweight veteran Tatsuya Kawajiri.

The veteran made this announcement on his official Twitter page.

“After rounds of thoughts, I’ve asked to be released from the UFC,” Kawajiri said in his Tweet. “Plan for the future will be announced separately. Appreciate your support.”

While Kawajiri does not give a reason for this choice, it’s worth noting that he did recently express interest in Road FC’s newly announced 32-man lightweight tournament. Given that the winner of this tournament will receive $1,000,000, his interest in it is certainly understandable.

Shortly after the South Korean promotion announced this tournament, Kawajiri took to Twitter to refer to it as “the dream.” While it’s not yet possible to say for sure if this is why he’s asked for his UFC release, it does seem to make sense.

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Kawajiri, who is now 38 years old, has competed six times in the UFC. Over the course of this six-fight stint, he has gone 3-3, defeating Sean Soriano, Dennis Siver and Jason Knight, and coming up short against ranked foes in Clay Guida, Dennis Bermudez and most recently, Cub Swanson.

Prior to his run in the UFC, Kawajiri competed in reputable organizations like Shooto, Pride, Dream, K-1 and Strikeforce. Over the course of his 47-fight career he has battled fighters like Caol Uno, Takanori Gomi, Joachim Hansen, “Felony” Charles Bennett, Gilbert Melendez, Eddie Alvarez, Gesias Cavalacante, Josh Thomson, and Shinya Aoki with a mixed bag of results.

Do you think Tatsuya Kawajiri should be released from his UFC contract, or would the UFC be wise to keep him around? Sound off, PENN nation!


Tatsuya Kawajiri