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PhotoCred: Instagram - @judokayla

Kayla Harrison inspired by “Last Samurai” Kyoji Horiguchi, open to fighting in Japan

Kayla Harrison is currently working toward another PFL title. However, getting to this point didn’t come without the help of a great team.

The American Top Team representative trains with some of the world’s very best fighters daily. At 10-0 with two Olympic gold medals in Judo to her name, Harrison is rapidly establishing herself.

Despite having a gym full of killers, ATT still provides a fun atmosphere. In the past, the lightweight in Harrison has shared some funny moments between teammates — perhaps most notably the current RIZIN bantamweight titleholder, Kyoji Horiguchi.

When it comes to Horiguchi specifically, Japan’s finest suffered a torn ACL in 2019 along with a huge upset loss to Kai Asakura. As a result, he was left sidelined and forced to vacate both his RIZIN and Bellator crowns — only to return arguably better than ever. Thus providing a great example of inspiration for his peers.

“Kyoji is a leader in the gym,” Harrison told MyMMANews. “He is the hardest worker in the room, which is crazy because he’s also probably the most talented fighter in the room. He has a ridiculous amount of talent but he doesn’t rest on that. He works harder than all of us. He’s also got such a great mindset, great mentality, very relaxed, confident, believes in himself. To watch him come back and overcome those obstacles, major knee surgery, getting his belts stripped, I mean, he’s a badass. Kyoji is the last samurai.”

As Kayla Harrison continues dominating her way through the PFL, spectators’ intrigue regarding what could be next has only intensified. Joining the likes of her Japanese teammate isn’t out of the realm of possibility, but as of right now, Genah Fabian and the PFL playoffs on August 19 are directly in her sights.

“I love Japan,” Harrison said. “I feel like I partially grew up there. All of the training that we did for Judo… but for sure. Japan is quite a spectacle when it comes to MMA and [is] very exciting. I would never rule that out.

“I know a lot of people are speculating about my future and what that holds… I am one of the people who is not speculating about my future. My job is to go out there and smash faces. I have two more fights on my contract to get to. So I’m focused on that and the rest will take care of itself.”

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