Aya Murakami is one of the top female prospects in Japanese MMA. The 31 year old started the sport relatively late in life but has made an immediate impact.

Murakami only made her debut in 2020. But three years into her MMA career she has already amassed a 6-1 record competing for Deep-Jewels in her native Japan.

The atomweight has frequently been matched with more experienced opponents and is a source of inspiration for anyone approaching their 30th birthday who is still looking to launch a successful MMA career.

She appears to currently be taking a break on Zushi beach:

Keen cosplayer

Zushi beach is just a shot drive from Tokyo where Murakami trains. She appears to bounce around between a few different gyms and has taken the trip alongside Krazy Bee strawweight Saki.

Outside of MMA she is a keen cosplayer who explained to Sogo Kaku how serious she is about dressing up as characters from anime,

I first went to Comiket as a character from an anime called FGO. I remember how fun it was because it was so unrealistic and like a different world. Some of the cosplaying was so high quality that the cosplayers really looked like they came directly out of the screen. When I saw that, I wanted to cosplay like that too, so I got into it.

Diminutive stature

Standing at just 4โ€™11โ€ she has fought three times at microweight and is undefeated in that division. But Murayamiโ€™s last three fights have been at atomweight which represents a big jump up.

She entered the Deep-Jewels atomweight Grand Prix in 2021 but missed out when her opponent was unable to make weight. In her first professional fight she claimed a decision win over Moeri Suda in 2020.

Both would go on to forge successful careers and they rematched two years later at Deep-Jewels 38. This fight also went the distance with Suda becoming the first fighter to ever beat Murakami.

Suda has also had the opportunity to compete for Rizin. That might be the ambition for Murakami although she would clearly be on the small size for the promotionโ€™s super atomweight division which is for 108lbs fighters.

But she is living proof that it is never too late to launch a successful MMA career. There canโ€™t be many 31 year olds out there who could accurately be described as prospects but the ageless Murakami definitely fits into that category.