In her attempt to take the record, Fujii will face submission specialist Lisa Ward in a rematch of their controversial 2007 bout. "Mega Megu" spoke exclusively with MMAFighting.com recently about her father's judo school and bullying, her path to mixed martial arts and about her perfect record.
Fujii began her training earlier than most. At three years of age, she joined her father's judo school.
"My father had a judo dojo so naturally I started (training there). There were not many girls. I mostly trained with boys. They would punch me and throw me around. Once I started to be able to throw them, it became fun. The roughness was during sparring. They were very sneaky, so I don't think my father noticed and I never said anything. If I got punched, I just got motivated to throw them back."
Although Fujii recalls the experiences with the boys of her father's judo school with a laugh, she continues to admit that the other children's bullying shaped her into the dedicated and almost obsessive martial artist that we see today.
Fujii struggles to list any other hobbies outside of martial arts.
"I like relaxing, playing with cats and nature. I like watching movies. But if I am not training, I feel uncomfortable."
After making the quarterfinals of the All-Japan University Judo Championships for three consecutive years, Fujii moved on from her father's martial art to sambo, Brazilian jiu-jitsu and catch wrestling, where she also excelled.
From 1998-2005, Fujii won the All-Japan Sambo Championships. In 2002 and 2003, she took the All-Japan BJJ titles, and in 2004 and 2006, the BJJ Pan-American Championships.
"Once I had done all those grappling arts, I wondered what I could do next to take advantage of my experience. I chose to pursue mixed martial arts."
Fujii began training at Hiroyuki Abe's AACC and also under the tutelage of former UFC heavyweight champion and catch wrestling proponent Josh Barnett. It's an environment that is far removed from the strict discipline of a Japanese judo school and is even quite different than most Japanese MMA gyms.
AACC houses the strongest stable of female fighters in the country with Strikeforce tournament finalist Hitomi "Girlfight Monster" Akano and reigning Valkyrie champion Yasuko Tamada. It is also famous for its children's wrestling programs and friendly, welcoming atmosphere towards foreign fighters.
Fujii's transition to mixed martial arts was astoundingly successful and her grappling skills translated well with 17 of Fujii's 21 wins come by way of submission. One of Fujii's submission wins come over her opponent at Bellator 31, Ward. In 2007 in Bodog, Fujii fought Ward and was awarded the win via armbar but Ward disputes that victory.
"My loss to Megumi should have been a no contest," said Ward in an interview with Bellator.com. "The fight was stopped because the referee thought I tapped and admitted he never actually saw it. I'm not sure what he was thinking, but I was defending properly and was in no danger of submitting. Megumi is a great competitor, but in this fight, I'm going to play my game, and deliver her the first loss in her career."
Many opponents have promised to deliver "Mega Megu" the first loss of her career but until now, none have succeeded. On Thursday, we will not just see Fujii again attempt to defend her perfect record but also possibly enter the history books as the fighter with the best start in the history off MMA.
"I don't think there is a secret (to my perfect record). I train hard, and focus on one fight at a time. Most importantly, I love mixed martial arts. I never get bored, even training every day. I want to achieve things that nobody else has done. Where everyone else will quit, I will never quit. That's what makes me unique I think. Now that I think about it, I am very surprised (that I could have the best start in MMA). I will do my best to do it!"
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