Megumi Fujii Discusses VTJ In Osaka, Future Of Women's DivisionsThroughout her career, mixed martial arts legend Megumi “Mega Megu” Fujii paved the way for other female fighters in Japan. Now retired from active competition, Fujii has assumed a new role as a matchmaking assistant for Vale Tudo Japan, but her goal of aiding female fighters remains the same.

Tonight’s “VTJ In Osaka” card featured a pair of female fights that Fujii was instrumental in putting together. 17-year-old rising stars Yukari Yamaguchi and Kanna Asakura earned quick wins. Fujii spoke with tonight about the event and about the future of VTJ’s women’s divisions.

Whereas Fujii began her pro MMA career at age 30 in August 2004, the famed AACC member believes that the key to developing female MMA fighters in Japan today is to provide them with opportunities at a young age so that their skills and knowledge can improve at a rapid rate. Yamaguchi, who turned 17 on Friday, and Asakura are two of the top female prospects in Japan, but both are just starting out in their professional MMA careers.

“I think women in MMA need to gain experience at a younger age,” Fujii stated when speaking with “In 2-3 years, we can expect more of them to be prepared to fight in a cage. When I was a fighter, I felt that showing how to properly train and fight was the best way to teach my students. Now, my role is to help female fighters and to provide a better environment for them.”

Fujii had a significant impact on tonight’s “VTJ In Osaka” event. Adopting the role of matchmaker, Fujii helped to put together both female fights on the card. She is a proponent of the “VTJ Next” series and believes that bringing in the best female prospects available will allow VTJ to one day establish one or more champions.

“I don’t think that VTJ will have a female title fight soon, but once the talent has been developed it will come,” Fujii said. “Yukari [Yamaguchi] impressed me. She won the Shoot Boxing Girls S-Cup and I was interested in how well she would adapt to MMA. Her striking is sharp, but I also like how she sets up takedowns with strikes. She does everything correctly. There are others who have had long amateur careers but no pro fights, and I want to give opportunities to them even if they are far away from Tokyo.”

Fujii also discussed her top student, former Jewels champion Ayaka Hamasaki, who is set to challenge for the Invicta FC Atomweight Championship next month. Hamasaki has been Fujii’s star pupil for six years and Fujii hopes that she will be able to bring Invicta FC title gold back to AACC.

“When I go to Tokyo, I watch [Ayaka] train,” Fujii noted. “When we exchange instant messages, I give her advice, but her main training at AACC now is done with striking coach Jyogi Nogi. He understands the mental part of MMA, and of course he improved my striking a lot as well, but he teaches fighters how to adapt their striking to their own style and personality.

“[Ayaka] has already had a long career, so I want her to take the Invicta FC belt,” Fujii added. “I think that [her winning] would elevate people’s opinions about JMMA and Japanese female fighters, and I hope that it will lead more of them to give female fights a fair shot.”


  1. Shame she didn’t hang around to get one UFC fight. I also don’t know about the level of the camps in Japan. You see a decent talent like PVZ make a massive leap at Alpha Male. The Japanese camps seem light years behind. Getting Japanese fighters, especially female ones, in North American camps should be a higher priority.

  2. I agree about the camps in america being higher level, but the money they have access to is completely different. When I was in japan I managed to visit Yushin Okami gym while I was there, man, it was sadly too poor. I saw pro guys training for important fights training in ridiculously small places. MMA in japan is dead when compared to USA or even Brazil and Russia

  3. Yeah, MMA is dead in Japan. MMA is associated with corruption thanks to Pride. Just like with female wrestling, there seemed to be a boom with female MMA right around when Smackgirl was at its most popular. Then Jewels came along, but the moment had already past. The Japanese stopped caring.

    They seem to think they can make it popular again by producing UFC fighters. But even Inoue looks like she would struggle in UFC. Nakai didn’t do much to earn a second fight. Their camps are not going to produce UFC champion levels fighters.