Hailing from Chiba, Japan, Yoshitaka Naito got a late start to his martial arts career. having only begun training at the age of 22 after being inspired by his martial arts hero Kazushi Sakuraba.
The self-professed comic book nerd made his professional debut with Shooto in 2012, and took the promotion’s strawweight division by storm. He won his first seven bouts, and then in September 2014, he submitted Shinya Murofushi with just three seconds remaining in the fifth round to capture the Shooto Strawweight Title.
After a pair of successful title defenses, the Japanese submission specialist made his ONE Championship debut in May 2016 at ONE: KINGDOM OF CHAMPIONS, the organization’s inaugural blockbuster event in Thailand. There, he tapped out the hometown hero, Dejdamrong Sor Amnuaysirichoke, to claim the ONE Strawweight World Championship.
Still the reigning champion, the undefeated Naito is one of the most recognizable individuals in Asian martial arts today. The Japanese competitor often dresses as Nobita, one of the main characters of the popular manga Doraemon, on his walks out to the cage.