There have been other Judo Olympians in MMA, but the popularity of this gold-medalist might mean more success for Sengoku.
Here's the full article from Sherdog posted earlier today:
"SHINJUKU, Japan -- The UFC landed Kevin "Kimbo Slice" Ferguson. Dream brought in Jose Canseco. World Victory Road on Thursday signed a potential one-man mixed martial arts boom in Olympic judo gold medalist Satoshi Ishii and made it official in a show of force at Shinjuku Station Square.

With more than 18 other World Victory Road fighters in attendance in front of an estimated 3,000 fans, Sengoku made a statement and a significant move in growing the young promotion, as it secured the country’s hottest free agent in a public signing.

After signing what he called the “perfect contract,” Ishii proudly held up the full agreement, only to realize soon after that he probably should not be showing it off to the world. Instead, he chose to pose for photographs with his hand barely covering the contract.

Keeping with the tradition of mixing MMA and comedy in Japan, Ishii attempted to live up to the humor of some of his peers on the Japanese scene. The 22-year-old strutted out to the stage wearing a sumo wig but quickly became embarrassed and tried to tear off the headgear when no one laughed. The laughter came soon after.

The young judoka did get some advice from his peers, however. Fellow Olympic medalists Hidehiko Yoshida and Makoto Takimoto offered stoic words of encouragement, although they never made eye contact. Yoshida and Takimoto confessed to having succumbed to the stress of recent MMA pressures but seemed certain Ishii would be fine if he took his time.

When asked why he finally settled on Sengoku after such a long back and forth with numerous promotions, Ishii said he received a gift certificate from the chairman and CEO of Sengoku sponsor Don Quijote, Takao Yasuda, but refused to elaborate. Instead, Ishii decided to focus on his goals in the promotion.

“I want to have exciting fights and become world heavyweight champion,” he said. “I’d like to fight at any time. If I can, I’ll come out Aug. 2 at [Sengoku ‘Ninth Battle’].”

Since announcing his intentions to transition to MMA back in October 2008, Ishii has clearly been the hottest free agent on the Japanese circuit. Though he showed indecisiveness perhaps indicative of his age, the situation finally came to a head for the 22-year-old.

Ishii’s age makes him an exciting prospect. Up until this point, judokas of his calliber have entereted the sport beat up and past their primes. Ishii’s management has clearly groomed him to make the most of the opportunity, as he recently completed training camps with UFC hall of famer Randy Couture in the United States and reigning UFC light heavyweight champion Lyoto Machida in Brazil. Spending time with the Red Devil Fight Team and once-rumored opponent Fedor Emelianenko in the Netherlands may come next.

Since winning the gold medal in the Beijing Olympics, Ishii has become a household name and could provide a much-needed ratings hike for Sengoku and a much-needed boost toward publicizing and legitimizing the sport in Japan. "