And bad news for you, too, fans of American sports heroes. Your precious Joey Chestnut's going to have a fight on his hands come July 4th. Kobayashi's going to be in Coney Island, his jaw is going to be healthy and lubricated, and he's going to destroy every nitrate- and sodium-filled pork byproduct you put in front of him.

He also scoffs at reports that his recent jaw ailment is some kind of a psych-out maneuver.

"That's not even funny," Mr. Kobayashi said. "I don't even have time to think about that."

Not EVEN funny. I'm not sure how Kobayashi's been treating his bum jaw. Most rehab and sports medicine centers do not have competitive-eating jaw-ailment specialists, but maybe he went to see Ron Jeremy. I've seen that guy successfully loosen up the jaws of hundred and hundreds of people.

Life as an underdog: Champion eater plans to compete here despite jaw ailment [Times Free Press]