Emi Fujino wants to join legendary list of champions at Pancrase 311
Emi Fujino has a chance to bring her dream to life on Sunday as she vies to become the new strawweight Queen Of Pancrase.
Fujino faces Hyun-Ji Jang at Pancrase 311 in a bout that will have the vacant strap on the line. The 39 year old comes into the contest in confident form having won her last two fights convincingly.
The Aichi native last stepped into the cage at Pancrase 308 when she scored a technical knockout win over Edna Oliveira in the semi-final. That win earned her a shot at the strawweight title vacated by Viviane Araujo.
For Fujino, who has challenged unsuccessfully for titles on four separate occasions, a win at Pancrase 311 would be the crowning moment of her 15 year career,
“I was so happy to get that win because it inched me closer to the title that I really want to have. I think there were a lot of things I have improved and that I still can improve in that fight, but I’m most pleased that I was able to just go for it,” Fujino said through her translator.
Fujino was in the same situation last year when she challenged then-champion Araujo but lost the title tilt via doctor’s stoppage due to an eye injury in the third round.
However, a second chance to capture the strawweight belt arose when Araujo vacated her throne to sign with the UFC earlier this year, prompting Pancrase to hold a tournament to enshrine a new titleholder.
“I lost to Viviane Araujo, but almost everybody lost to her, so that does not make me a bad fighter. In fact, it made me a better fighter. I am always trying to go out and put on a show. But above everything else, I need to win this time around,” Fujino stated.
Fujino expects to have her hands full against Jang, who has gone 3-1 in her last four outings. She was supposed to duke it out with Nori Date this past September, but the fight got scrapped after the latter failed to make weight.
As a result, the South Korean received a bye to the tournament final. Although she is facing a young and hungry opponent Fujini feels confident she is capable of getting the job done,
“I’ve been training hard, and I feel good, so I feel confident in this fight. I’ve been training for these kinds of fighters for so long. She’s strong with good cardio. I think the first couple of rounds are going to be tough, but I think I need to shut her game down and impose my will,” she explained.
“I don’t have a problem if things get tough. I’m used to it. I’ve never had an easy fight my whole career, so I just need to go in there and stop her plan of attack, then slowly take over,” Fujino added.
Winning the title on December 8th means a lot to Fujino as she will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with legendary greats such as Ken Shamrock, Masakatsu Funaki, Bas Rutten, Minoru Suzuki and Josh Barnett who were able to attain the distinction as Pancrase champion.
“To me, if you have the Pancrase belt, it says you are the best. That’s why I will leave everything on the line. This is my second shot, and I won’t ruin my chance. I want to join the legendary list of champions and make my own legacy,” she declared.