JMMA Insight: Emi Fujino Talks Pancrase 247, Ronda Rousey and Amber Brown
By Dave Carpinello
This weekend, Pancrase, one of the top Japanese mixed martial arts brands for 20 years, will hold PANCRASE 247: Champion vs. Champion/Queen vs. Queen in Tokyo. This will be the first Pancrase pay-per-view to show live for global audiences on USTREAM. One of the feature bouts on the card will be a women’s light flyweight bout between veteran striker Emi “The Kamikaze Angel” Fujino and FIT NHB Hybrid Fighter Amber Brown. Fujino took some time recently to talk with PunchDrunkGamer about the upcoming fight, Pancrase and more!
PDG: You have had a long career as professional fighter (17 fights, 11 wins and almost 10 years in the sport); which opponent has been your toughest and why?
Emi Fujino: All of my opponents were strong fighters but my fight against Ayaka Hamasaki, the Jewels MMA champion, was the most interesting. Her grappling skills were excellent and I lost the battle by a close decision.
PDG: Women’s MMA has exploded in popularity and exposure over the last two years in North America, have you seen the same growth in Japan?
Emi Fujino: Unfortunately, the numbers of women MMA fighters has been decreasing steadily and disappointingly the numbers of the audience in attendance have also declined.
PDG: Since Ronda Rousey got the UFC women’s bantamweight title she has became a global star. What do you think about Ronda and at some point would like the chance to fight her?
Emi Fujino: I think Ronda is brilliant and a very strong fighter. Her Olympic Judo experience is very fitting for her in MMA. If the weight class issues could be worked out somehow, sure, I’d like to challenge her someday.
PDG: Coming up this weekend, on May 19th at PANCRASE 247, you are scheduled to fight Amber Brown. What do you think of your opponent and do you see any advantages for you in this match-up?
Emi Fujino: I don’t know anything about her because I couldn’t get her information or find any of her previous fight videos. So all I can say is what I know and that is that my experience exceeds hers, and that will be my advantage in this fight.
PDG: What is your training schedule leading up to this fight?
Emi Fujino: I’ve been doing the same training regime that I always do to prepare for fights, nothing special for Amber. I have been doing very physical training two times a week, running and cardio training three to four times a week and then mixing in my mixed martial arts training and sparring five to six times a week.
PDG: Who are your training partners in Japan?
Emi Fujino: My primary training partner at the gym is Mei “V.V” Yamaguchi.
PDG: What stands out about Pancrase as an organization in comparison to the other promotions that you have fought for (i.e. Jewels MMA, Valkyrie and others)?
Emi Fujino: Pancrase has a long running history for 20 years, so I think that they are a very stable organization in comparison to the other JMMA promotions. Fighters in Pancrase are getting more exposure and in turn they are becoming more widely known.
PDG: So then how do you prefer to spend your time outside of the gym?
Emi Fujino: When I actually get my day off, I really like to go shopping and out to a nice dinner with friends, like every other woman.
PDG: Thanks for you time Emi, is there anything else you would like to add?
Emi Fujino: Thank you, I hope that many fight fans tune in to see and enjoy my aggressive fight this weekend. I am going to continue to work hard as I make an attempt to be at the top of women’s MMA.
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