When Emi Fujino last fought at Pancrase 311 she tipped the scales at 115.1lbs. The veteran would win the interim strawweight title that night.

Two years later and Fujino makes her Rizin debut competing in a completely different weight category. She weighed in at 108lbs ahead of her super atomweight contest with Ayaka Hamasaki at Rizin 30.

The 40 year old has never been so light in her entire career. It is a remarkable accomplishment for a fighter who has been a professional for nearly two decades to drop down a division a couple of months before her 41st birthday.

Unwanted break

Fujino says she is just happy to be fighting again after an unwanted break from competitive action,

“First of all, I am just happy to be fighting again. I didn’t have any opponents to face ever since the pandemic hit, so I am very grateful to be fighting.”

This will be her Rizin debut and she is excited to see how women’s MMA has developed during the course of her career,

“Fighting in Rizin is a bonus. Women’s fighting has always been taken lightly when we first started, so I am happy to see where we are right now, and I’m going to show that us girls can fight our asses off too,” she said.

Decisive factor

She has been training hard and having successfully made the weight cut Fujino believes her size could be a decisive factor,

“Obviously I have been training to get the win. I had enough time to drop to super atomweight while staying healthy so I think I will have the big physical advantage over her in the fight. I will show her the power difference between an atomweight fighter and a strawweight fighter. I plan to overwhelm her and dominate,” she said.

Hamasaki’s super atomweight title won’t be on the line but one belt is enough for Fujino,

“I have the Pancrase belt, so I don’t really care that this isn’t for the Rizin title. All I wanted is a tough opponent and I got exactly that, and I am grateful,” she said.

Best in the world

Fujino feels that her opponent might just be the best atomweight in the world,

“She’s been fighting at the highest level for the past nine years, became the world champion, Rizin champion and I think that it’s amazing that she’s been able to do it for so long constantly. She has everything it takes to be the best atomweight in the world.”

For her part Fujino is just happy to be able to continue a career that began all the way back in 2004,

“I always step in the ring thinking that it will be my last fight, and if I can keep fighting for as long as I can, that would be very fortunate.”