After a lengthy career in MMA which began back on 2010, Ulka Sasaki made the decision to leave the world of MMA and pursue a career in professional wrestling. Sasaki, who is 34, appeared on the 2nd episode of Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Monday Magic back on October 23rd to announce that would be debuting for the promotion in an exhibition match. Sasaki teamed with Kenoh as they went to a 10 minute time limit draw against Manabu Soya and Daisuke Nakamura in the November 13th exhibition.
Ulka Sasaki’s first official singles match came on January 2nd as he faced Pro Wrestling NOAH superstar Takashi Sugiura. Despite losing to Sugiura, Sasaki showed excellent promise in the match and gave us a preview of his potential as a professional wrestler.
Ulka Sasaki took time out of his busy schedule to grant Bodyslam.net’s Lewis Carlan an interview as they discussed his Pro Wrestling NOAH debut, future plans and much more.
Here is the exclusive Bodyslam.net interview with Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Ulka Sasaki:
Q: You had your debut match at NOAH “THE NEW YEAR” 2024 against Takashi Sugiura. Despite losing, you seemed to have earned the respect of Sugiura. How important was that to you?
Ulka Sasaki: It was an important experience for me to fight my debut match against Takashi Sugiura, who has had a great career and big presence in the world of pro wrestling. My debut match made me love pro wrestling even more and made me want to pursue even it more.
Q: Please give us your thoughts on your match with Mr. Sugiura and if there is an opportunity to get in the ring with him again in the future.
Ulka Sasaki: I still feel that I’m far from the work I want to create in the ring, and that professional wrestling is difficult. However, I’d like to do my best to make it closer to my dream. Plus, I would love to meet Mr. Sugiura in the ring again someday.
Q: You have another singles match this time with Shuhei Taniguchi on 1/13. How are you preparing for it?
Ulka Sasaki: Taniguchi is also a strong wrestler whose had a long career. I’m still grinding at my preparation & training, the everyday fundamentals of a professional wrestler, you know, but I’m also spending my days thinking about what Taniguchi has to offer in the ring.
Q: On January 17, you will be teaming up with Takashi Sugiura against the tough team of Masa Kitamiya and Taiki Inaba. What are your impressions of the team of Kitamiya and Inaba, and what kind of match do you expect?
Ulka Sasaki: Many of the fighters in NOAH are strong-minded, passionate, and strong. Kitamiya and Inaba are the same. However, since I’m teaming up with Mr. Sugiura for this match, I think I can do more than what I can usually do. I want to give it my all.
Q: Why did you decide to leave MMA and become a professional wrestler with Pro Wrestling NOAH?
Ulka Sasaki: Because I saw the Great Muta vs. Shinsuke Nakamura at the NOAH Nippon Budokan on January 1st, 2023.
Q: Is your experience as an MMA fighter going to help you succeed as a professional wrestler?
Ulka Sasaki: It will be very useful. The 19 years I’ve spent doing mixed martial arts has definitely helped me in the formation of “Ulka Sasaki.”
Q: Is there a title you would like to challenge for in NOAH when you gain more experience?
Ulka Sasaki: I would like to challenge for the GHC Heavyweight belt. And of course, the National title.
Q: Who would you like to face in NOAH?
Ulka Sasaki: All the wrestlers in NOAH. I want to experience everyone’s wrestling.
Q: What does the future hold for Ulka Sasaki in 2024?
Ulka Sasaki: The formation of Ulka Sasaki the Pro Wrestler, not Ulka Sasaki the Fighter. I want to be a pro wrestler that the customers are satisfied with.
Ulka Sasaki’s upcoming match on January 13th at Pro Wrestling NOAH’s Star Navigation against Shuhei Tanaguchi can be viewed live on Wrestle Universe subscription streaming service.
You can follow Lewis Carlan on Twitter @ShootingUpNorth