Mei Yamaguchi has been on the MMA scene for nearly a decade, but this Friday’s fight will be the biggest of her career. The Japanese fighter is challenging for a belt in the main event of ONE: Ascent to Power at the Singapore Indoor Stadium.
She’s won titles and tournaments before, but beating a highly touted teenage prospect in front of 10,000 fans in Singapore to claim the inaugural ONE Championship women’s atomweight belt would be a career defining achievement.
“I think it’s the biggest belt. A lot of people throughout the world know that ONE Championship is really big, so I’m excited,” she told MMAWeekly.com.
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Yamaguchi has spent much of her life living in the U.S., where women’s MMA is going from strength to strength, and she feels that the sport does not enjoy anything like the same levels of interest or participation in Japan.
Winning a title with a major international MMA organization would be a serious statement of intent. She hopes it will inspire more female fighters to take up the sport,
“It’s hard to make new fighters (in Japan). So if I was able to bring back the belt and show that we can do these kind of things, I can inspire the next generation fighters.”
Growing up, Yamaguchi divided her time between Los Angeles and Tokyo, which gave her a glimpse at two contrasting cultures. One thing that has been consistent throughout her life is a love of martial arts. She’s been training since the age of 6.
“I loved Jackie Chan, so ….View full article