Josh Thorpe will make a big impression on the M-1 welterweight division if he can knock off former title contender Yasubey Enomoto this Friday night on Showtime.
However, his heart is in the lightweight division, and he hasn’t forgotten how close he game to winning the M-1 title at 155 pounds.
“I am coming back after that belt,” said Thorpe, who fights out of Mobile, Ala., with Port City MMA.
Thorpe challenged M-1 lightweight champ Jose Figueroa for the title in August 2010 and came out on the short end of a unanimous decision.
“That was a hard fight that went the distance,” he said. “I will be back, and I will be ready for him this time.”
Thorpe took a step toward getting his wish by responding to M-1’s request that he move up to 170 pounds to face Enomoto, who trains at his own dojo in Zurich, Switzerland.
A win over Enomoto would be significant, because Enemoto went five tough rounds with M-1 welterweight champ Shamil Zavurov on just eight days notice before losing a unanimous decision.
Thorpe grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, where he wrestled on the varsity squad all four years at Western Hills High School.
Instead of going to college, he joined the military before transitioning to MMA.
“I started by just taking guys and down and going to ground-and-pound before moving to a higher level. Then I was able to add kickboxing, jiu-jitsu and boxing.”
In compiling a 10-5 record, Thorpe has gone to 10 decisions.
“My cardio has been very good,” he said. “I don’t go into a fight with a game plan; I try to adapt during the fight. Cardio is very important for me to be able to go all three rounds.”
Thorpe’s clash with Enomoto will be part of M-1’s latest card on Showtime this Friday night at 11 p.m. (live Eastern, delayed for Pacific).
Fans in Phoenix will see the show live at Grand Canyon University Arena. Kenny “Deuce” Garner will go for the interim heavyweight title against Maxim Grishin, who is stepping in for injured champ Guram Gugenishvili.
Other top fights on the show include light heavyweight champ Vinny Magalhaes vs. Mikhail Zayats; Arthur Guseinov vs. Eddie “Crazy Face” Arizmendi and Tom “Da Tank” Gallicchio vs. Daniel Madrid.