Justin Scoggins (11-5) is coming to RIZIN to fight with a purpose. The former UFC flyweight is going to make his RIZIN debut New Year’s Eve at RIZIN 14 and he is ready to show off why he is one of the top flyweights in the world. He will be fighting Japan’s Yuki Motoya (22-5-0 1 NC) in a catchweight fight at 60kg.
Beginning in Martial Arts
Scoggins, 26, could easily be described as a fighter who lives and breathes martial arts. He started training in Kenpo Karate at three years old, eventually earning a black belt in that discipline.
“I was a little bit of a wild child. [Martial arts] took over my life in a good way. It gave me direction.”
At 11, he was training in full contact kickboxing and went on to win the International Kickboxing Federation’s 2004 North American Classic Championship Tournament in the 80-pound division. In addition, he was also wrestling in junior high school. He transitioned to MMA training at 16 “once MMA started really blowing up.”
Time in the UFC
Scoggins signed with the UFC in 2013 as a flyweight (though did have one fight at bantamweight) as a 9-0 fighter. He went 4-5 during his tenure there, achieving wins over Will Campuzano, Ray Borg, and Josh Sampo. He was released in November of this year after a three-fight losing streak.
“I slipped up a little there with the submissions and stuff.”
His end with the UFC was not one he desired. He lost a fight against Said Nurmagomedov (no relation to Khabib) in a controversial split decision.
“That was ridiculous. It was a win…the UFC matchmakers came back to the locker room and recognized I won that fight.”
After news of the 125 division being shut down came out, Scoggins was offered a short notice fight at 135 but then the offer was rescinded. He doesn’t hold any bitterness towards the UFC but does question why opponents he beat are still on the active roster.
“I got a call to fight at 135, then the next call was getting cut. If you’re putting together the best fighters in the world supposedly, how do you keep guys that I destroyed?”
An offer from RIZIN
As soon as his release came from the UFC, his manager got contacted about signing with RIZIN. Scoggins said he will be having 4 fights over one year.
His first opponent is Yuki Motoya. Motoya is on a 4-fight win streak, with one win at RIZIN 12 by sleeper choke and is the current DEEP Bantamweight Champion.
“He’s a tough dude. He’s a baller for sure. He’ll throw the heavy shots,” Scoggins told MMASucka.
He said he has been training combos, reactions and flying stomps to get ready for this fight. He’s also training in a ring now as opposed to an Octagon cage, saying he’s practicing techniques to use the ropes to his advantage.
“I don’t see a lot of guys use the ropes like they do in boxing or kickboxing. I’m kind of excited to go in there and put my little spin on it… I really want to show my striking skills… It’s going to be a good show. I’m going to whup that ass.”
Scoggins is already looking towards the future with RIZIN. He said he is eager to rematch Ulka Sasaki who he previously lost to in UFC. Sasaki submitted Scoggins by rear naked choke. “I was tearing that dude up,” he said. “He was getting his ass beat. I would like to get that fight back.” No martial art or discipline is off the table for either. Quintet, the grappling promotion, is something he “would definitely be down.”
“I’ve been killing the grappling and the jiu-jitsu. That’s been a really big focus.”
He also said he would welcome the opportunity to do a kickboxing match, in particular facing Tenshin Nasukawa. “We strike differently here in America,” he said. “Straight kickboxing, I don’t think he could keep up with me.”
Nasukawa vs Mayweather
The three round exhibition boxing match scheduled between Floyd Mayweather and Nasukawa has a lot of people in the combat sports talking. Some think Mayweather will win, others pick Nasukawa. Scoggins is on Team Mayweather for this bout. “You’re not going to touch Floyd in boxing,” he said. “Nobody’s touching that guy. With just hands, he’s got the sweet science down.”
Scoggins stated this opportunity would be great for Nasukawa as “he’s going to grow as a martial artist.”