December 5, 1972 |
|Other names||Honoo no Grappler ("The Flame Grappler"), The Japanese Tank|
|Height||1.75 m (5 ft 9 in)|
|Weight||83.7 kg (185 lb; 13.18 st)|
|Style||Shoot wrestling, Catch wrestling, Submission wrestling|
|Team||Takada Dojo (formerly)|
|Years active||1998-present (MMA)|
|Mixed martial arts record|
|Mixed martial arts record from Sherdog|
Daijiro Matsui (born December 5, 1972 in Okayama) is a Japanese mixed martial artist and professional wrestler. He currently competes in the Middleweight division but has also fought as a Light Heavyweight. Although he is perhaps best known for his numerous appearances in the Pride Fighting Championships, Matsui has also appeared in other well-known organizations such as Pancrase, King of the Cage, DEEP, and the Cage Rage Championships.
Professional wrestling career
After training in amateur wrestling at the International Budo University, Matsui joined shoot-style organization Union of Wrestling Forces International, where he trained under the legendary Nobuhiko Takada. He debuted in September 1996 as "Shunsuke Matsui" against Tatsunori Kamiyama, but he could not advance the card as UWF-i folded the same year. Matsui then followed the company's members to the new promotion Kindgom, having matches against Kazushi Sakuraba, Yoshihiro Takayama and Hiromitsu Kanehara, until Kingdom fell in 1998. He then transitioned to MMA.
In December 2000, Matsui made a return to pro wrestling at the Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye event, teaming with The Great Sasuke to defeat Akira Shoji and Caol Uno. He also competed in Battlarts, beating Ikuto Hidaka, and in New Japan Pro Wrestling, wrestling Kendo Kashin in a losing effort for the IWGP Junior Heavyweight Championship. The same year, he faced Kashin again in All Japan Pro Wrestling, wrestling under the name of "Mr. Problem" and wearing modified Kendo Kashin attire and mask. Matsui had also stints in Pro Wrestling Zero1 and in Inoki Genome Federation.
Mixed martial arts career
Matsui transitioned to mixed martial arts from pro wrestling and trained at the Takada Dojo for much of his career along with Kazushi Sakuraba. Matsui made himself known for a surprising technical ability and his unorthodox striking, including the use of the shoulder strike from the guard, as well as forward rolls and cartwheel kicks in an attempt to draw his opponents to the ground.
Matsui made his professional mixed martial arts debut in 1998 at Pride 3 against Akira "Mr. Pride" Shoji and the bout ended in a draw. In his next bout at Pride 4, he faced future Pancrase Light Heavyweight Champion Sanae Kikuta. This bout also ended in a draw because of the time-limit on bouts in the organization at that time.
At Pride 6, Matsui fought against future UFC Welterweight Champion and fan-favorite, Carlos Newton. In an entertaining fight, Matsui fended off many submission attempts from the Brazilian jiu-jitsu specialist. However, Newton's superior striking and grappling would give him the victory, handing the Japanese fighter his first professional loss via unanimous decision. Matsui fought again at Pride 7 against Dutch kickboxer "Dirty" Bob Schrijber. Matsui was impressive, holding his own against the striker and taking advantage of his superior wrestling skills. Controversy ensued when Matsui was punched in his face while being attended to by the referee because of a problem with his gloves. The two fighters exchanged heated words had to be prevented from brawling before the fight was continued. Matsui continued with renovated aggressivity, performing a takedown attempt which made Schrijber fell through the ropes and brutally land on a table ringside. Well after the bell marking the end of the first round sounded, Schrijber landed a powerful kick to the back of Matsui, who was still down on the ground. The foul immediately resulted in a disqualification win for Matsui, and the first win of his career.
Matsui's next appearance for the organization was at Pride 8 where he faced future Pride Middleweight Champion and future Pride 2003 Middleweight Grand Prix Tournament Champion, Wanderlei Silva. Outmatched from the beginning of the fight, Matsui was rocked with a series of knees from the clinch and punches from the Brazilian, but demonstrated his heart and continued to battle against one of the best fighters in the organization's history, though ultimately lost in a unanimous decision. Matsui then fought against Ukrainian kickboxer Igor Vovchanchyn at Pride 9. Matsui was "finished" the first time in his career after the referee called a stop to the bout at 5:03 into the first round. Matsui's next bout for the organization was at Pride 10 against former UFC 12 Heavyweight Tournament Champion and future UFC Light Heavyweight Champion, Vitor "The Phenom" Belfort. Matsui was handed his third consecutive loss, via unanimous decision.
Matsui returned to PRIDE at PRIDE 14 to fight Brazilian Vale Tudo legend Jose "Pele" Landi-Jons, Matsui being a heavy underdog heading into the fight with a 2-6-2 record. At the beginning of the first round, Matsui was almost rendered unconscious by a knee strike from Landi-Jons, but he recovered and continued to fight. Despite his inferiority, Matsui exhibited an unseen amount of heart and performed surprising techniques to attack the Brazilian, using dropkicks and fending off rear-naked choke attempts by driving Pele's head into the ringpost in full runs, as well as armbar attempts by picking up Landi-Jons and dropping him on his head. He also countered flying knees by catching him mid-air with his foot and pushing him away, and attacked him from inside his guard by holding Landi-Jons's head and slamming it against the canvas. Frustrated by his opponent's offensive, Pele landed a series of illegal elbows to the back of Matsui, resulting in a yellow card from the referee which attracted heated words. Matsui took down Landi-Jons and utilized the ground and pound technique until the end of the first round, and continued to use unorthodox strikes and superior wrestling until the end of the fight, pulling off one of the biggest upsets in the sport at that time. Matsui's next opponent was Ebenezer Fontes Braga at Pride 15 and Matsui lost via unanimous decision. In his next bout at Pride 16, Matsui faced the future EliteXC Middleweight Champion, Murilo "Ninja" Rua. Matsui was rocked with many stomps and soccer kicks throughout the bout, and the fight was eventually stopped in the beginning of the third round.
Matsui then fought against future UFC Light Heavyweight Champion Quinton "Rampage" Jackson at Pride 18 and Matsui won via disqualification after he was hit in the groin at in the beginning of the fight. Matsui then fought Rodrigo Gracie at Pride 19 and lost via guillotine choke submission in the third round. The submission was controversial as Gracie held onto the choke for a significantly long time after Matsui had tapped out. Matsui's next appearance was at Pride Shockwave against Dutch kickboxer Jerrel Venetiaan. Matsui lost the bout via split decision after Venetiaan was able to utilize superior striking, especially with powerful kicks. Matsui then fought Rory Singer at Pride The Best Vol. 3 and won via unanimous decision, and then followed this up with another unanimous decision win over Kazuki Okubo at Pride 24, which would be Matsui's last appearance for the organization.
Matsui's next bout was two years later against Ryo Chonan in the DEEP organization and lost in a majority decision before going 0-2-1 in his next three bouts against the likes of Paulo Filho, Brian Foster, and Elvis Sinosic, respectively. In the Pancrase 2005 Neo-Blood Tournament Finals, Matsui picked up his first win in three years with a TKO over Daisuke Watanbe. To date, this is the only TKO/KO win of his career.
Matsui made his debut for the England-based Cage Rage organization a year later against former Alex Reid and fought to a draw. In his next bout, Matsui faced former UFC veteran Curtis Stout and won via majority decision. Matsui then lost three consecutive bouts before defeating future BAMMA Middleweight Champion and current UFC veteran, Tom "Kong" Watson with an armbar submission, the only submission win of Matsui's career to date. Matsui lost his last fight for the organization against Mark Weir.
Mixed martial arts record
|Professional record breakdown|
|46 matches||12 wins||28 losses|
|Loss||12–28–6||Toshikazu Suzuki||Decision (unanimous)||Grabaka: Grabaka Live! 3||October 27, 2013||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||12–27–6||Kazuhiro Nakamura||KO (knee & punches)||DEEP: King Kaz Fight in Fukuyama||June 30, 2013||1||1:30||Fukuyama, Japan|
|Loss||12–26–6||Keiichiro Yamamiya||Decision (points)||U-Spirits: U-Spirits Again||March 9, 2013||1||15:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||12–25–6||Eiji Ishikawa||Decision (unanimous)||Grabaka: Grabaka Live! 2||October 27, 2012||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Draw||12–24–6||Hiromitsu Kanehara||Draw (majority)||DEEP: 57 Impact||February 18, 2012||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Draw||12–24–5||Hiroki Ozaki||Draw||DEEP: Tokyo Impact 2||June 5, 2011||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||12–24–4||Tomoaki Hata||Decision (unanimous)||DEEP: Cage Impact 2010 in Hamamatsu||September 19, 2010||2||5:00||Hamamatsu, Japan|
|Loss||11–24–4||Dool Hee Lee||Decision (split)||Gladiator FC 6||April 25, 2010||2||5:00||Kobe, Hyogo, Japan|
|Win||11–23–4||Il Chul Park||Decision (split)||Gladiator FC: Japan-Korea International Friendship Rally||November 3, 2009||2||5:00||Okayama, Japan|
|Loss||10–23–4||Daniel Madrid||Submission (inverted triangle choke)||Art of War 14||September 26, 2009||2||4:19||Macau, SAR, China|
|Loss||10–22–4||Min Suk Heo||TKO (punches)||DEEP: Grachan 2||July 12, 2009||1||3:08||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||10–21–4||Ichiro Kanai||Technical Submission (arm-triangle choke)||Pancrase: Shining 10||December 7, 2008||1||2:25||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||10–20–4||Lee Eun-Soo||Decision (unanimous)||DEEP: Gladiator||August 16, 2008||3||5:00||Okayama, Japan|
|Loss||10–19–4||Yuichi Nakanishi||Decision (unanimous)||DEEP: 35 Impact||May 19, 2008||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||10–18–4||Young Choi||Decision (split)||DEEP: 34 Impact||February 22, 2008||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||9–18–4||Carlos Toyota||TKO (punches)||Deep: clubDeep Kanazawa||December 9, 2007||2||2:22||Kanazawa, Ishikawa, Japan|
|Loss||9–17–4||Mark Weir||Decision (unanimous)||Cage Rage 21||April 21, 2007||3||5:00||London, England|
|Win||9–16–4||Tom Watson||Submission (armbar)||Cage Rage 20||February 10, 2007||1||0:59||London, England|
|Loss||8–16–4||Flavio Luiz Moura||Decision (unanimous)||Deep: 26 Impact||October 10, 2006||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||8–15–4||Yuki Kondo||Decision (unanimous)||Pancrase: Blow 6||August 27, 2006||3||5:00||Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Loss||8–14–4||Pierre Guillet||TKO (cut)||Cage Rage 17||July 1, 2006||2||4:08||London, England|
|Win||8–13–4||Curtis Stout||Decision (majority)||Cage Rage 15||February 4, 2006||3||5:00||London, England|
|Draw||7–13–4||Alex Reid||Draw||Cage Rage 14||December 3, 2005||3||5:00||London, England|
|Win||7–13–3||Daisuke Watanabe||TKO (doctor stoppage)||Pancrase: 2005 Neo-Blood Tournament Finals||August 27, 2005||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Draw||6–13–3||Elvis Sinosic||Draw||Pancrase: Spiral 5||July 10, 2005||2||5:00||Yokohama, Japan|
|Loss||6–13–2||Brian Foster||KO (knee)||Shoot Boxing: Ground Zero Fukuoka||January 23, 2005||1||2:28||Fukuoka, Japan|
|Loss||6–12–2||Paulo Filho||Decision (unanimous)||Gladiator FC: Day 2||June 27, 2004||3||5:00||South Korea|
|Loss||6–11–2||Ryo Chonan||Decision (majority)||Deep: 13th Impact||January 22, 2004||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||6–10–2||Kazuki Okubo||Decision (unanimous)||PRIDE 24||December 23, 2002||3||5:00||Fukuoka, Japan|
|Win||5–10–2||Rory Singer||Decision (unanimous)||PRIDE The Best Vol.3||October 20, 2002||2||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||4–10–2||Jerrel Venetiaan||Decision (split)||PRIDE Shockwave||August 28, 2002||3||5:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Loss||4–9–2||Rodrigo Gracie||Submission (guillotine choke)||PRIDE 19||February 24, 2002||3||0:28||Saitama, Japan|
|Win||4–8–2||Quinton Jackson||DQ (knee to groin)||PRIDE 18||December 23, 2001||1||0:14||Fukuoka, Japan|
|Loss||3–8–2||Murilo Rua||TKO (soccer kicks and stomps)||PRIDE 16||September 24, 2001||3||0:51||Osaka, Japan|
|Loss||3–7–2||Ebenezer Fontes Braga||Decision (unanimous)||PRIDE 15||July 29, 2001||3||5:00||Saitama, Japan|
|Win||3–6–2||Jose Landi-Jons||Decision (unanimous)||PRIDE 14||May 27, 2001||3||5:00||Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Win||2–6–2||Rick Kerns||Decision (unanimous)||KOTC 8 - Bombs Away||April 29, 2001||2||5:00||Williams, California, United States|
|Loss||1–6–2||Amir Rahnavardi||Decision (unanimous)||KOTC 5 - Cage Wars||September 16, 2000||3||5:00||San Jacinto, California, United States|
|Loss||1–5–2||Vitor Belfort||Decision (unanimous)||PRIDE 10||August 27, 2000||2||10:00||Saitama, Japan|
|Loss||1–4–2||Todd Medina||Decision (unanimous)||KOTC 4 - Gladiators||June 24, 2000||2||5:00||San Jacinto, California, United States|
|Loss||1–3–2||Igor Vovchanchyn||TKO (doctor stoppage)||PRIDE 9||June 4, 2000||1||5:03||Nagoya, Aichi, Japan|
|Loss||1–2–2||Wanderlei Silva||Decision (unanimous)||PRIDE 8||November 21, 1999||2||10:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Win||1–1–2||Bob Schrijber||DQ (kicked after bell)||PRIDE 7||September 12, 1999||1||10:00||Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Loss||0–1–2||Carlos Newton||Decision (unanimous)||PRIDE 6||July 4, 1999||3||5:00||Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan|
|Draw||0–0–2||Sanae Kikuta||Draw (time limit)||PRIDE 4||October 11, 1998||3||10:00||Tokyo, Japan|
|Draw||0–0–1||Akira Shoji||Draw (time limit)||PRIDE 3||June 24, 1998||4||10:00||Tokyo, Japan|