The UFC’s 115-pound strawweight division has proven to be as deep as it gets among the women’s divisions. And now it’s getting even deeper as one of Japan’s brightest young stars, Kanako Murata, is making the move to the promotion.
MyMMANews has confirmed that Murata has officially signed with the UFC. An opponent or debut date has yet to be decided.
“We do believe that Kanako has a big possibility of becoming the first Japanese UFC champion, and we are proud to send her out for this challenge,” RIZIN officials told MyMMANews, “If Kanako becomes the first Japanese UFC champion, that would help us here in Japan and will benefit our industry in a bigger picture.”
Murata successfully won the Invicta FC strawweight crown in November against former Bellator flyweight title challenger Emily Ducote via split decision. Remaining under contract with RIZIN at the time, it was expected that the CSA representative would go back to fight in the ring for her next outing. Due to the COVID-19 outbreak, any notion of that happening was delayed and inevitably altered to where Murata is headed now.
Currently 11-1, Murata made her professional MMA debut in April 2016 when she signed with RIZIN FF and competed at their first numbered event. Having competed in both the strawweight and flyweight divisions at 115 and 125-pounds, Murata would eventually make the lighter of the divisions her permanent home in 2019.
The Matsuyama native’s lone career loss came at flyweight in her fifth career bout opposite UFC veteran Rin Nakai. Since then she’s been perfect and has even managed to make some history.
Among the wins in her current seven-fight winning streak, Murata has scored two Von Flue choke submission wins. Thus making her the lone female fighter to ever execute the submission successfully. On top of that, she achieved those victories in consecutive fights against Angela Magana at RIZIN 12 and Saray Orozco at RIZIN 15. That feat puts her alongside Ovince Saint Preux and Jason Von Flue as the only fighters to have won more than a single fight with the submission.
Overall, the 5-foot-1 wrestler has four submission wins with two knockouts. Following the Orozco win, Murata got the call to Invicta FC where she would continue to dominate.
Falling victim in Murata’s welcoming bout was Liana Pirosin who was submitted via rear-naked choke. Five months later and Murata was set to challenge for the vacant title at Invicta FC 38. As previously mentioned, she would come out victorious.