Minowaman. A simple utterance of this name, Ikuhisa Minowa's superhero alter ego, sends jolts of powerful energy through the collective bodies of Japanese fight fans the world over. You know who you are. You've stayed up many a night and early morning to see the first and only Super Hulk champion battle men of all shapes and sizes. Together we've thrown our fists into the air with the Minowaman, be it in the joy of victory or the woe of defeat. As one we've donned the red Speedo awkwardly, over our usual everyday clothes, like jeans. The red Speedo looks the worst when you wear it over jeans. Minowaman embodies everything that is good and pure in the MMA world, he is the Alpha and Omega, he is Minowa.
Now finally, and for the first time, he will step confidently onto American soil. We were able to communicate over the phone with him in all of his mulleted, heelhooking glory to discuss his fight against Kendall Grove in Pro Elite this weekend. The language barrier was a challenge to say the least, so huge thanks to Evan Cohen for deciphering. And to the extremely friendly translator who said 'Hi' to me at least 6 times. Unless that was Minowa?
Hypothetical question: the UFC has banned Speedos. If you made it to the UFC would you try to reverse that ruling or would you actually get out of the Speedo? Uh, I would have to think about it. I want to wear it but they prohibit it. So, no I would have to just wear shorts I guess.
Any plans to defend your Super Hulk belt? Super Hulk! Ha! Mmmm not at the moment. Maybe, but not at the moment.
Would you be open to another match with Phil Baroni in Pro Elite or elsewhere? Yeah I would love to!
Would that go down in Pro Elite? Pro Elite or anywhere. Anyone who could put together this fight I will do it.
Brock Lesnar is now retired, are you sad you never had a chance with him? How would you beat him? He should come out of retirement, I would love to heelhook him.
Are you preparing differently for Kendall Grove in Pro Elite cage than you normally would for the ring in Japan? Do you have a cage to train in? I've been preparing for the fight in the cage, I think I'm good.
Why aren't Japanese fighters doing well on American shows? You know it's hard I don't really know. Maybe it's the cage and not fighting in the ring or something. I can't really say though I haven't fought in the cage in the US I fought in the cage but I can't really tell, I think that's probably it...Probably the cage vs the ring. I will find out Saturday hahaha.
Would you ever be willing to change the color of your Speedo? Yeah probably when I feel like it.
What color would you change it to? Ahhhhhh black or white! Yeah!
What's the hardest fight you've ever been in? Ohhhhhh (deep thought) Maybe Zulu he was so big and Bob Sapp. That fight I felt like I was gonna die. He was so huge!
Do you know how big of a star you are to American MMA fans? We love you so much. I love you. No no, I never really knew hahaha I'm so happy to be loved by the fans. I'm so happy to have an opportunity to fight for them. I'm so excited.
Are you worried about not wearing shoes for your fight in Pro Elite? No I've been training without the shoes so you know what? I feel good.
Why are you so awesome? Nahhh no no, I don't think so. How do you say it? I am not awesome. Thank you but no. I don't feel that way. Thank you.
Minowaman, do you have any knowledge you can bestow upon us? Work hard, be honest and true. That's how you have to live life. Thank you. Thank you haha. Thank you! Thank youuuuuu!