Ayaka Hamasaki, the reigning Rizin women’s super atomweight titleholder, is a dominant champion.
The 37-year-old will be making the second defense of her 108lbs title against Seo Hee Ham at Rizin 20. The marquee matchup is set for the Saitama Super Arena tomorrow night and Hamasaki believes the Korean represents a real threat,
“When I signed with Rizin, I told Nobuyuki Sakakibara and everyone in the company that I only want to fight the best. I fought the best and the brightest out there, but in my next fight, it’s going to be against the toughest of them all. It energizes me,” she shared through her interpreter.
Ham has won five fights in a row since departing from the UFC. Hamasaki has already beaten her twice but is not expecting an easy ride on New Year’s Eve,
“I need to have somebody to push me very hard. If I was always in my comfort zone, then I would never evolve,” Hamasaki added.
The five wins that Ham has registered since parting ways with the UFC include two under the Rizin banner. Hamasaki has seen these fights and was impressed,
“She (Ham) is an impressive fighter. Her performances in her last fights made me admire her so much. I have had tough matches for years, and I am excited for this match,” Hamasaki said about the matchup.
Hamasaki has fought and beaten the best super atomweights Rizin has to offer. The Japanese promotion has bought in opponents from Invicta FC and now Road FC to challenge her.
The champion is grateful for these opportunities and wants to be tested,
“It is about challenges for me. For me, she is a challenge, and I need more challenges coming to me. Let’s see how good she is, let’s see how tough she is, and let’s see how good her skills are. I want to see that. It makes me happy,” she stated.
Hamasaki might hold two previous wins over Ham but she has still prepared very seriously for this trilogy bout,
“She’s good, but I know everything she’s going to try to do in the fight. If she’s a good fighter, so am I. My team and I worked overtime for this fight. I am ready to battle her in all aspects of the fight,” she explained.
She has been a professional mixed martial artist for an entire decade and celebrates her 38th birthday soon. But Hamasaki is dedicated to the sport and believes her lifestyle will allow her to continue for years to come,
“I wake up, I sleep, and I train. I try to improve myself everyday, and that is my life. It will show on New Year’s Eve when I overcome the challenge that Seo Hee Ham offers.”
Hamasaki has won five fights out of five for Rizin. She is the most dominant champion on the promotion’s roster and wants to prolong her reign into 2020 and even beyond with an emphatic win tomorrow.