The eaters will now have to finish all their hot dogs and buns within the new limit of 10 minutes –- shaving two minutes off the eating clock.
This may hit Kobayashi hard because one of his specialties was a burst of fast eating at the end of the contest. "Picking up the pace at the end, especially in the last two minutes, was something I was really good at," he said.
On the other hand, a shorter competition may put less strain on his jaw.
One motivating factor for Kobayashi remains the roar of the crowds. He said they helped carry him through last year's competition.
"Although I was not in first place, the audience cheered for me and told me to come back next year, which made me cry," Kobayashi said. "I never cried after I won a competition. That was a surreal moment for me."
Kobayashi also has in mind what might be some surreal moments for his American competitors.
Asked if he could choose any kind of food for another competition, Kobayashi was quick with his answer.
"Since I competed eating hot dogs -- a traditional American food -- I want to see how my American fellow fighters would do with sushi."