At the age of 38 Mei Yamaguchi is probably coming towards the end of her career. She has a fight coming up against Julie Mezabarba at ONE: ‘Empower’ on Friday but the Japanese fighter knows exactly what she wants to do once her career ends.
She wants to star in a Jackie Chan movie and says the Chinese actor is one of her childhood heroes,
“I love his movies and since I was a kid I would try to do the things he did. It’s fun to watch his movies and I’d love to be in one of those movies some time.”
Yamaguchi is facing Mezabarba in an alternate bout for the Grand Prix. If one of the quarter finalists get injured then the winner will step in and replace them.
A few fans felt she should have been included in the Grand Prix and Yamaguchi thinks that her age might have been a factor,
“I think it’s important to give a chance to new faces, young athletes so I think they selected those new faces,” she admitted.
Yamaguchi also admitted there was one fighter she would be cheering for on Friday. She fought Seo Hee Ham in 2011 and dropped a decision to the Korean, who would go on to fight for the UFC and Rizin.
She hopes her old adversary does well in the tournament,
“I’ve known Seo Hee Ham for a long time and I’ve fought her so I will cheer for her,” she said.
It doesn’t sound as if Yamaguchi is prepared to call time on her career and switch focus to fulfilling her action movie dreams just yet. She thinks she still has a lot to offer as a mixed martial artist,
“I don’t care about age, age is just a number. I believe I have a lot of skills to show regardless of my age.”
She has been beaten by decision on two occasions by Angela Lee. Both were title fights and both decisions were debatable, particularly the rematch which many felt Yamaguchi should have won.
She is 13 years older than the champion but would definitely not turn down a trilogy match,
“A fight against Angela Lee? If I have a chance I would love to.”
While Lee is the reigning atomweight champion Yamaguchi knows she will need to beat Mezabarba and then hope one of the semi finalists drops out. If the veteran could somehow find a way into the tournament and then win the title a the third attempt it would be the sort of storyline Jackie Chan movies are made of!