Antrim Electric
Featured Video Play Icon

Juan Archuleta Focused by Embracing Culture in Japan

Juan Archuleta is usually fired up to fight, but this fight against Soo Chul Kim at the Bellator vs. RIZIN event on New Year’s Eve is different. 

Rewind back to his Bellator 222 win over former bantamweight champion Eduardo Dantas. When he won that event, he looked over to Bellator MMA President, Scott Coker and let it be known he wanted to go to Japan and fight the best they have for him. That was in 2019, and now at the end of 2022, he is getting his wish.

On Wednesday’s media day in Japan for the event, Archuleta called it a “dream come true,” and said that he had to pinch himself just to wake up every morning since Coker asked him to participate in this historic event for Bellator and RIZIN.

Archuleta brings his ‘A’ game to every fight but watching him address the media had him display a different kind of energy for his fight on New Year’s Eve. His excitement to compete seems like he can barely keep it contained, so when asked how he is able to keep himself focused on the job he’s there to do, Archuleta’s embrace of the Japanese culture is what’s helping him because it is similar to his own.

“I’m two days away from making history and two days away from really performing in front of the fans that are here, ” Archuleta said. “ I’ve been able to really dive deep into the culture. Go into farms and be welcomed by the people that bring me home-cooked meals, meals that are organic and part of my diet.”

Archuleta almost seemed to embody Anthony Bourdain from “Parts Unknown” when he added; “Here, Japanese love is their culture and their culture is food and they have so much food here. That’s their love language, similar to the Hispanic culture. I’m very honored and that’s what kind of helps keep me at ease and remember what I’m doing this for it’s for the people here in Japan and that’s why I’ve been wanting to come here and fight throughout my whole career because I knew what this culture was going to bring and what it was going to instill into my bloodline. It’s been in my DNA since day one.”

Fighting in Japan is a bucket list item for a lot of fighters, and Archuleta being able to check this one off means a lot to him. Fans will likely see that passion on display in his fight.

Bellator vs RIZIN will air on SHOWTIME this Saturday at 8 PM ET in the United States on New Year’s Eve. If you’ve never seen MMA in Japan on New Year’s Eve before, you’re not going to want to miss this event. See Archuleta’s full scrum above.

Do Not Sell My Personal Information