Yoshihiro Akiyama Takes Dana White's Advice, Plans Move to Welterweight Division

Andrew Barr@@andrewbarr8Correspondent ISeptember 3, 2011

Photo courtesy of MMAjunkie
Photo courtesy of MMAjunkie

Japanese superstar Yoshihiro Akiyama is moving to the welterweight division.

Akiyama was recently in action at UFC 133, fighting against former UFC champion Vitor Belfort.

He was knocked out in the first round by Belfort, marking his third straight loss in the UFC and moving his record with the organization to 1-3.

After UFC 133, UFC President Dana White revealed that, for some time, he had been wanting Akiyama to drop down to welterweight, claiming that he could easily make the cut.

According to Japanese news outlet Sponichi, Akiyama will be taking the UFC President's advice and dropping from middleweight to welterweight.

In addition to the change in weight, Akiyama is also making a change in scenery. He has closed his gym in Japan and is planning on training in North America with Team Jackson, alongside UFC welterweight champion Georges St-Pierre.

Hopefully this career-reorientation will be what Akiyama needs to get back on track, as he is likely one loss away from being cut by the UFC.

Akiyama made his Octagon debut by defeating Alan Belcher by split-decision and since then has lost consecutively to Chris Leben, Michael Bisping and Vitor Belfort.

When he will make his welterweight debut and who he will be fighting has not been announced, but the UFC is planning to hold an event in Japan in the near future. It's very likely that Akiyama would be featured on that card.