Bellator Middleweight, Hisaki Kato [aka The Japanese Musketeer] is a French/Japanese Kudo blackbelt who has an 8,2 record, having most recently fought Ralek Gracie on his MMA debut. Tony Reid met up with Kato for the following interview.
Tony Reid: The recent rematch with Joe Schilling was on a different playing field. You took a fight with him in kickboxing this time around. One would think would have been an advantage for him.
Hisaki Kato: I was really excited for the fight. It was my first kickboxing experience. I know many people think it should have been easier for him this time but I always like a good challenge. I believed in myself and I just tried to knock him out again.
Tony Reid: After your first fight with Schilling in Bellator MMA you said that you felt you were brought in to get knocked out. What did you think going into the rematch?
Hisaki Kato: Well, it was a rematch but it wasn’t really a rematch. The rules were different. It was a rematch because it was the same opponent but not the same rules. Having fought him again but not in MMA, could have been real revenge for him with it being in kickboxing. He might have been a bit protected. He is an American fighting in America. Maybe people wanted to see him win this time. I don’t care about that, though. I just wanted to put on a good performance and do it again.
Tony Reid: We have Bellator MMA and Bellator Kickboxing. What are your thoughts on jumping back and forth and competing in both sports?
Hisaki Kato: No. My future is in MMA. I accepted this fight in kickboxing because it was a new challenge. I think it will only be one fight for me in kickboxing and then I will be back in MMA.
Tony Reid: You have one of the most exciting careers in MMA to this point. Every single fight has ended in a KO or TKO, win or loss. To what do you attribute your exciting style?
Hisaki Kato: If you train in martial arts and you believe in martial arts you know there is no draw. There is no decision. If you go in thinking that you have to protect your life you will win or you will lose. There are no other options. When I have a fight I try to finish the fight because this is the only way you win in real life. If it’s not in a cage or a ring you have to end the fight if you want to win. The same thing if you lose, you die. There is no decision in real life. I never think about having to win a decision.
Tony Reid: Being such a true martial artist, if you could test your skills against anyone in any organization or weight class who would you want to test them against?
Hisaki Kato: After watching the Melvin Manhoef versus Rafael Carvalho championship fight I was really angry. It was not an entertaining fight. I was angry at the champion. I would fight him and try to knock him out.
Tony Reid: We all see and hear fighters talk about the vicious striking of Melvin Manhoef. What were your thoughts after facing him?
Hisaki Kato: Melvin’s hands were really heavy. I have a long karate background and I have fought with some seriously scary, big and heavy handed guys and Melvin’s power is real.
Tony Reid: As a fan of martial arts and mixed martial arts who do you enjoy watching?
Hisaki Kato: I’m not in the fan mode but I try to learn from different fighters. I just try to learn movements and things like that. I like MacGregor. He has an interesting style. He takes real challenges. That’s what I like. I enjoy watching Conor. I also enjoy watching GSP. He is French. I like his style and he fights very smart. There are a number of fighters that I enjoy but those are the two that really come to mind.
Tony Reid: I have to ask you about your interesting nickname “The Japanese Musketeer”. How did that name come to be the one that stuck?
Hisaki Kato: Because the musketeer is from France and I wanted a name mixing the two cultures. My French coach come up with that name. He said I had only two choices. I could be the French Samurai or the Japanese Musketeer. I said The Japanese Musketeer is a lot funnier so let’s go with that one!