Kota Miura might have an unblemished MMA record but everyone saw him lose to Ren Sugiyama in a special rules bout at Rizin 42. For the 21 year old it was a humiliating experience.

His father, Kazuyoshi Miura, is one of the best Japanese footballers of all time and has scored 55 goals for his country. He knows that the opportunity to make his MMA debut on a Rizin card only came about because of this family connection.

The loss to Sugiyama hit Miura particularly hard because for the first time he felt like he was hanging on his father’s coattails,

“I went back to the locker room and felt I was left with nothing, The reason I can fight in Rizin was because of my parents, it was justified when I was winning but now I don’t even have that.”


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Painful defeat

Sugiyama is a kickboxer and the fight with Miura was under modified rules. That means it doesn’t appear on his official MMA record but the pain of defeat still lingers,

“I got too hasty in my last fight, I rushed to win. I thought I could easily win but I realized I couldn’t do anything.”

While Miura was left feeling embarrassed about his family’s connections after that loss he didn’t have to look too far for inspiration. His father was famously left out of the Japan squad for the 1990 World Cup despite scoring 14 goals in qualifying.

Despite his father’s success Miura saw him suffer numerous setbacks and takes inspiration from him,

“I know he suffered more than he succeeded, I watched him so I know how to get back up.”


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Gulf in experience

At Rizin 45 he has been matched with Koji Tanaka, better known as Kouzi. The kickboxer is making his MMA debut but has been training with Shinya Aoki in preparation for it.

While Miura only began competing in combat sport as a professional in 2021 his opponent has been winning titles in kickboxing for nearly a decade. The 21 year old has participated in some exhibition matches in Rajadamnern Stadium this year but is at a significant disadvantage when it comes to striking experience.

It sounds like Miura will be looking to use his ground game. He is well aware of Kouzi’s striking credentials,

“I’m expecting a tough fight. There’s a big difference in (striking) experience so I need to mix things up.”