I never did comment on Megumi Fujii’s shock loss to Zoila Frausto a few months back. She wasn’t stopped, and it wasn’t shocking to see another bad decision handed out by maverick judges who appear to be watching a different fight to the rest of the world. Quite simply it was her strategy (or abandoning there of). Instead of imposing her strongest skill against her opponent’s weakest Fujii felt she had something to prove, the need to show the world she could beat opponents at their own game.
Maybe it was a case of Fujii being a victim of her own success, undefeated in MMA competition giving her a sense of security where she could experiment and treat fights more like field research for her own development as a combatant. That attitude tends to be a gamble and more then likely will turn around and bite you in the end, as it did when the much more damaged looking Frausto was given the judges nod.
In a recent Sherdog article Fujii said :
“I was shocked when I heard the decision. I thought I’d won my 23rd straight victory, and would continue winning more from there on, getting people to pay attention to women’s MMA and broaden opportunities for women in the sport back home,” she says.
“Before this, I always wanted to do things that male mixed martial artists hadn’t been able to and to be recognized for them. That’s something that I think would inspire other women to come to MMA.”
It’s also possible Fujii took what most would deem an unnecessary risk because of her constant battle to prove womens equal worth in the sport with a male biased homeland as the rest of the linked article details. Fujii’s promise to finish future fights is the best attitude to adopt while the frankly incompetent and negligent judging is being addressed, and if you’ve been following the SBNation stories regarding MMA judging since Joe Rogan’s outburst at the recent Ultimate Fighter Finale you should be aware that reform will likely be a slow and tedious process.
Still Fujii remains positive and hopes to be even more impressive in her next run of fights, aiming to better her previous 22 in a row win streak:
Since returning to Japan, Fujii has taken time off to reflect and heal the injuries accrued over the course of the tournament, ultimately setting an even more ambitious goal for the future: a larger undefeated streak than her previous twenty-two straight wins. She giggles charmingly at the hope of eventually making it into the Guinness Book of World Records for such a feat, but in a serious moment, tabs the woman that defeated her, Bellator 115-pound champion Zoila Frausto, as the first name she wants to notch en route to twenty-three plus consecutive wins.
“[Rematching Frausto] anytime would be fine, but I think it would be better if we were to do it sooner. She’s very big for 115 pounds and it’s hard for her to lose the weight because the cut is drastic. For the sake of her health, I think it’d be better if we could do it sooner than later,” says Fujii.
As important a rematch for Fujii is to get straight away I can only imagine a certain reluctance on Frausto’s part (or at least her management’s) who may want to ride out the wave of beating the best female fighter in the world, and one of the best generally regardless of gender. Still pressure will be on Frausto to engage rather than avoid a rematch to prove she has what it takes to get a win without another scoring hiccup that gifts her a decision victory, and with a refocused and determined Megumi Fujii a second fight could make the war they were in look like a minor battle in hindsight.
But Fujii isn’t looking past her next opponent on December 30th at Sengoku World Victory Road and vows to play to her strengths and submit Emi Fujino on her road back to being the best in th world, and the road back to representing womens MMA and elevating it in Japan. Much like her Rocker alter-ego Mega Megu, December 30th will be the start of her comeback tour and here’s to at least another 22 dates of headline worthy performances.