Olympic Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishi headed for American Top Team By: Stefan Manojlovic What is ‘Benedict Arnold’ translated into Japanese? After flirting with DREAM, Olympic Judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii has opted to pursue a career in the UFC rather than the Japanese promotion according to Fighters Only Magazine. Quoteworthy:“I made up my mind finally - the UFC is where I want to fight. I’m a white belt in MMA. I understand the possibility of starting from WEC. If I was an unknown judoka, I would definitely build up my MMA experience in Japan first. However, I have decided put my Judo gold medal to use. I believe my name value will attract the UFC.” Ishii was expected to make his mixed martial arts debut on New Year’s Eve at the FieLDS Dynamite!! supershow scheduled for the end of this year. He verbally agreed to sign with Fighting and Entertainment Group (FEG) and even held a fan club celebration party on November 3. The 22-year old Ishii was apologetic for his failure to commit, and his hero status could take a serious hit when he heads to the famed American Top Team (ATT) camp in March of 2009. This isn’t the first time Ishii has made noise in the world of MMA. After winning his gold medal in Beijing, Ishii issued an open challenge to heavyweight deity Fedor Emelianenko. I guess he didn’t see what Fedor did to silver medalist Naoya Ogawa at PRIDE Final Conflict back in 2004. Fedor of course smiled and went about his business, as Ishii has yet to prove that he can transition from Judo to mixed martial arts - and a few questions have been raised of his ability to strike (or be struck). In addition, his Judo Federation doesn’t seem too keen on the idea of him making the jump from Judo to mixed martial arts, despite Ishii’s persistence. From Tokyo’s Kokushikan University program leader Kazuo Yoshimura:“This guy turns everybody into an enemy. He’d better get out [of Japan] without delay.”Ishii is young, brash and shooting for a spot on the UFC roster. Maybe he can audition for The Ultimate Fighter Season 10.