It was eight years ago a 115 pound Japanese jundoka stepped into the ring for the first time, not knowing that was the beginning of one of the greatest streaks in MMA history.
It only took Megumi Fujii 40 seconds to win her first MMA fight, getting a rear naked choke on Yumi Matsumoto. Since then, she has never been finished by an opponent. Her only two losses were by judges’ decisions.
Video – Fujii vs. Matsumoto
She had made 19 of her opponents tap, with 13 of those armbars. Her run of 20 straight wins without a loss is unmatched in the women’s division, and something rarely obtained in MMA in general.
Fujii’s legacy won’t only be only about what she has done inside a ring or a cage, but also what she has done outside it. Fujii helped grow the women’s divisions in Japan; mentoring fighters such as Hitomi Akano and Ayama Hamasaki. She has also helped bridge the gap between Japan and the U.S. in the women’s divisions.
The most important thing she has done is been a role model to many up and coming fighters. It’s impossible to find one fighter that has a discouraging word about Fujii, who as much as she is aggressive in competition, she is the nicest person outside it. Her down to earth personality and smile are infectious and endearing to fans in any language.
She is contemplating retirement after eight years of success, struggle, and submissions. Even if she hung up the gloves today, it would be hard not to see her influence continue for many years to come.
For now, Fujii is still fighting on, working to make the sport better in multiple ways.