With the Japanese MMA scene barely hanging on by a thread, the UFC is poised to swoop in and make their mark in the country where PRIDE Fighting Championships once ruled the sport. Dana White mentioned over the weekend that the UFC had plans to invade Japan “very soon,” and while it may not happen this year as he suggested, it very well could in early 2012.

MMA Weekly is reporting that the UFC is indeed targeting their first trip to Japan in more than a decade on Feb. 26, 2012 and it may take place in an arena very familiar to Japanese MMA fans — the Saitama Super Arena.

According to sources speaking to MMAWeekly.com on Sunday, UFC officials are looking at a Feb. 26, 2012, date in Japan with the show currently targeted for the Saitama Super Arena in Saitama.

While the venue has been reserved by agencies working with Zuffa in Japan, this is still just the preliminary location they are focusing on for a return to Japan. Other venues and locations are being looked at, but Saitama Super Arena is currently the most likely landing spot.

White predicted that the company would likely end up in Japan in 2011, although our sources are indicating the early part of 2012 is more realistic at this point.

UFC Asia’s Mark Fischer is apparently leading the charge and said to be in contact with several Japanese promoters who have run shows there before, but it’s unclear if they’re going to work with one of them or not.

However it goes down, it will definitely be weird to watch a UFC with hardly any crowd noise.