30 April 2018, Jakarta, Indonesia: Yoshitaka “Nobita” Naito, 34, of Japan had his first loss as a professional mixed martial artist on December 9, 2017 when Alex “Little Rock” Silva, 35, of Brazil dethroned him as the ONE Strawweight World Champion at “ONE: Warriors of the World” in Thailand. On May 12, 2018, they will have their rematch at “ONE: Grit and Glory” at the Jakarta Convention Center in Jakarta, Indonesia.
“I am so happy to get another chance to have a rematch against him,” Naito stated. “I really respect him. He is a great athlete.”
The Japanese fighter revealed that it took him a few months to accept the loss but it gave him a renewed hunger to improve his craft. He said, “At first, it was very hard to accept.”
“You can say that it was a rude awakening, but the loss gave me a fresh perspective,” the former ONE Strawweight World Champion continued. “The heartbreak was transformed into a drive to win again.”
While Naito has rededicated himself to progressing both his striking and his grappling skills, perhaps the biggest evolution is one that cannot be physically seen. He stated, “I hope I got stronger, but what I am sure about is that my heart is definitely stronger than before.”
Naito now prepares to step inside the ONE Championship cage with Silva once more. He holds his Brazilian rival in high regard as he vows to try his best to capitalize on the golden chance that lies before him.
“The championship belt is special for me,” Naito said. “I am so honored to be able to fight the strongest athlete in the division whether I win or not”
“I can fight the strongest athlete, and I have a chance to get the championship belt,” the Japanese fighter added. “That makes it very special for me.”
Naito’s competitive fire is burning intensely and is more driven than ever to return to glory almost five months after losing his coveted title belt to Silva. The Japanese fighter declared, “I will get my belt back. My ultimate goal is to become a champion again.”
Watch the bout between Naito and Silva at “ONE: Warriors of the World” here: