Hideki Sekine

Photo via Sekine's Sherdog page

Hideki Sekine Talks Nye Win at Rizin 33, Exploding Ring Death Matches, and More

Hideki Sekine finished Shoma Shibisai via second-round ground and pound at Rizin 33. This transpired on December 30th, 2021 at Saitama Super Arena in Saitama, Japan.

I spoke with the man known as Shrek after his Shibisai victory. Excerpts from our chat are below.


The importance of being able to impart all of that wisdom from MMA and submission grappling 

“So for Bonsai Jiu-Jitsu, MMA is very new for us. We’ve only been doing strictly jiu-jitsu and MMA has been relatively new to our gym. And Kleber Koike was the only one who has transitioned to MMA. Even Satoshi (Roberto de Souza), he’s only been practicing MMA for a few years. So for our gym, for our Bonsai Jiu-Jitsu, MMA has been a very relatively new thing for us. So it’s not more of me passing on the information or knowledge or mentoring the young fighters. We all get together and share our knowledge. And we all strengthen each other as a team. That’s what’s going on with Bonsai right now.”

Hideki Sekine

Hideki Sekine working with Rizin lightweight champion Roberto de Souza

“I think for me getting myself prepared for the New Year’s Eve event, Kleber Koike was my head coach. He helped me a lot for this fight. Marcos Souza, Marquinhos, he is the head of Bonsai in Japan. But Marquinhos and Kleber, these two really helped me out with my previous fight and that’s what showed.”

The camaraderie with winning Bonsai Jiu-Jitsu teammates at Rizin 33 among Hideki Sekine and Roberto de Souza

“So currently Bonsai dojo has two locations. In one location it’s Souza and myself. The other location, there is Marquinhos and Kleber. So we usually train half of the time of the week at our own locations. In the remaining half, we get together and spar. But for me, I always spar with Satoshi every day. He pushes me hard every day. And I think that’s one of the reasons why winning the fight came down to the stamina and the grittiness, I was able to take that fight. Because of the hard sparring with Satoshi every day.”

Bonsai Jiu-Jitsu

“Even Satoshi mentioned in his post-fight interview, he said that Sekine is working hard every day. So that’s why I couldn’t give up. I had to work harder to keep up. I feel the same way. The reason why I’m here is because of Satoshi and Kleber, Marquinhos. They pushed me hard every day during practice. And I’m very grateful for that. I do feel fortunate to have such a great team. Even after the event. Once we had our New Year’s beginning. I went over there and showed them my respect and gratitude. And I think because of this event and what we all went through as a team, I think we even have a tighter bond.”

Rizin 33

If there was a tangible sense of feeling the momentum swing that Hideki Sekine felt in the Shibisai fight

“For me, I’m not quite sure where the tides changed. But during the first round, when I was in a very dangerous position. I was getting pounded over and over. I do remember Marquinhos shouting, don’t give up. Don’t give up, hang in there. I remember hearing that voice and then thinking to myself, Okay, I’m gonna hang in there for a little longer. Try a little longer and try to wear it out. And then for me when I knew that the tides had completely turned was after I threw the German suplex. I felt Shibisai wearing down significantly, he definitely slowed down. That’s when I knew that I could probably win this fight.”

Utilizing the German suplex a lot in pro wrestling and the feelings associated with connecting on it in MMA/ shoot style kind of context. As he did in the Shibisai bout

“I know that if I was just going in there to win the fight, the better way was to trip him down. Take his back and control the fight from there. That definitely conserves a lot more energy. It’s just such a smarter way to fight if I just wanted to get that win. But for me, I went in there as a pro wrestler. I walked out to the UWF main theme.”

“I was standing in that New Year’s Eve ring. That traditional, prestigious New Year’s Eve ring with the pride of a pro wrestler. So when I had gotten that position when I took his back and got the grip, my choice was to throw that German suplex no matter what. With all that being said, I’m very satisfied. Being able to pull off the German suplex in an MMA ring on the New Year’s Eve event. The fans liked it as well. So for me, it all worked out and I do feel satisfied.”


The hugely euphoric moment of winning on a new year’s eve MMA show in Japan with the backdrop of Hideki Sekine being a paying fan of over two decades worth of NYE shows

“So for me, obviously it was like a dream come true. I was on cloud nine. Words cannot describe how I felt being there. And for me, it should have been over. Like for me, mission accomplished. I should have been satisfied just by being there at that ring. But when you think about it, I was the one who held the fan. Coming from a fan base with a passion that continued to follow the sport. I finally made it on this prestigious event.”

“So from here, I feel like I had to represent all the UWF fans who are my age. Who wanted to be UWF pro wrestlers, who wanted to be a fighter, who wanted to be fighting on the big stage. That was my turn to represent my age. The fans who shared the same passion back then. And I wanted to show the strength of the UWF. The strength of a pro wrestler. So that’s what I felt like I needed to do. I was determined to win. I think that mentality gave me that additional boost. To make me weather the storm of the beating in the first round. Then come out victorious.”

UWF and FMW fandom

Hideki Sekine working FMW legend Atsushi Onita in a Current Blast deathmatch which is a pro wrestling contest featuring rigged explosives

“So Atsushi Onita is another pro wrestler who had his own organization called FMW. And they pretty much did deathmatches for their fights. The most famous one would be the electric barbed wire ring match. And I think that’s what you’re referring to from when I fought Onita-san in August. It’s the electric barbed wire ring.”

“For me, I was a big fan of UWF. But FMW was still big. It was a major, major league back then. And Onita was definitely one of my idols. He’s a charismatic figure in the business. So for me, I would watch both. And for me to be able to work with Onita, it was definitely another dream come true for me.”

Rizin FF

Hideki Sekine’s past bout for the ONE Championship heavyweight title and if a Rizin title in that weight category is something he covets in his future

“You know for me obviously, a title fight would be nice. But that’s not my intention right now. For me, I want to continue this tradition. I want Rizin to continue and I want this. I don’t want this fire to go out. So if there’s anything I can do to contribute to Rizin. If one of my performances, my fights, if that helps Rizin and this tradition to continue, that’s all I ask for. Obviously a title fight during the process would be nice, but I’m not going to ask for that. All I ask for is this tradition to continue.”

Parting thoughts for Hideki Sekine

“So I wanted to say, this is kind of similar to what I said after the fight. But I had this condition (gigantism), I went under surgery, and my condition is currently stable. But I still have annual checkups. I have to take some medication. It’s not fun and it’s not easy. But what I want to say is that no matter what situation or whatever condition you’re put in, you can’t be negative. You can’t let the situation eat you up. You have to stay positive. Don’t quit, never give up. Good days will come. No matter how unfortunate you feel, no matter the bad times, keep your head up and stay positive. Things will get better. That’s the message I want to pass on.”

author avatar
Dylan Bowker
I've been enamored with combat sports for as long as I can remember. I've hosted MMA talk shows Lights Out and Pure Fight Radio with featured guests like Jens Pulver, Roy Nelson, Miesha Tate, Mark Coleman, and more. I've been an MMA broadcaster for XFFC as well as BTC and have done play by play commentary on live pay per view on GFL as well as FITE TV. I've provided written, audio, and video content covering some of the biggest MMA promotions like Rumble in the Cage, Unified MMA, and King of the Cage. I've worked as a sports entertainment personality for over five years and given play-by-play or featured promotions of KSW, ONE Championship, TKO, and Invicta FC. My work can be found in the USA Today Sports affiliate MMA Torch, Cageside Press, MMA Sucka, and Liberty Multimedia.