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Itsuki Hirata Learning From Failure To Succeed At ONE 167

Itsuki Hirata
Black Belt Plus

Itsuki Hirata was one of ONE Championship's fastest-rising atomweights. Her momentum was halted, and she struggled to regain that lost momentum.

At ONE 167: Tawanchai vs. Nattawut II, Itsuki Hirata wants to leave recent losses behind her and show she's ready to ascend back into the division's upper echelon against Victoria Souza.

"I want to show my strengths and the determination to win no matter what. Instead of waiting, I'll attack first. If I can win that way, I don't have to fight a full 15 minutes," Hirata told ONE.

"The sooner it ends, the better. I'll go on the offensive from the start so I don't have to fight for 15 minutes."

"Android 18" is feeling confident she holds the advantage in this matchup. After stints in America training, Hirata has become a more well-rounded athlete. Back in Japan, she has fine-tuned her game and is comfortable wherever this match takes place.

"Since I'm a bit bigger, my reach will be different, and if I can strike smartly, I think I'll have opportunities in the stand-up," Hirata mentioned.

"And in grappling, if I take her down, I think I can ground-and-pound from the top, so I'll fight without losing focus for even a second."

Against a talented Brazilian grappler, Hirata wants to showcase her own dominance on the canvas. While content with striking, she made it known that her biggest want is to win via submission.

"I'm confident I can get a finish, and I want to get a finish. I want to beat a strong grappler with grappling," the Japanese star said.

"I'll mix it up without overly sticking to one thing. But if I can get a submission, make her tap out, that would feel great."

While many athletes can become frustrated by losses, Hirata has found the silver lining for herself. The recent setbacks have opened her mind to embrace and learn from failure.

Now Hirata is more free to compete, fail, and learn in the gym and take those lessons with her onto the global stage on June 7.

"Before, I didn't even want to get hit. I didn't want to lose or fail in training. But after losing, I realized that training is a place to fail," Hirata admitted.

"I fail a lot. I get beaten by female fighters and amateur fighters too. Before, I was being stubborn, but I changed my mindset, and it became easier."

While she may put less pressure on herself, a win will thrust her back into the discussions at atomweight. The stakes remain high.

ONE 167 will test "Android 18" mentally and physically, giving her a platform to show she is ready to climb once again.

"Thanks to Coach Osawa, instead of just being tense, I can relax and do it. My thinking is completely different from when I was thinking about winning alone, like, 'It's okay to lose, just do what I can do," Hirata said.

ONE 167 airs on Prime Video on Friday, June 7, at 8 p.m. ET/5 p.m. PT, free for all U.S. and Canadian Amazon Prime subscribers.

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