It has been eight years since Rin Nakai fought inside the UFC’s octagon. Now at 36-years of age and a professional mixed martial arts record of 25-2-1, the only two blemishes on the Japanese fighter’s resume came while competing with the UFC nearly a decade ago.
Nakai is the current Deep Jewels flyweight champion and in a recent interview with MMA Mania reporter Drake Riggs, she details what may have led to her downfall with the UFC.
“First of all, at that time there was only Bantamweight [in UFC] and I’m short. I’m only 5-foot-2, so I was short,” Nakai said. “At that time, I only had 16 wins so it was not really — compared to today — I didn’t have enough experience. I thought I wasn’t really ready and I wasn’t a good striker at that time. After that, I learned a lot. It was a hard lesson and I practiced a lot and focused more on striking and practice hard so I’m really different now. I’m a different Rin compared to eight years ago.
“If somebody really watches me now and gives me the chance, I’ll be performing much, much better than eight years ago,” she added.
Starting her MMA career in 2006, Nakai has participated in the organizations Pancrase, Smackgirl, Valkyrie, UFC, and DEEP.
Nakai has been rated amongst Top 10 of Women’s Flyweight and Bantamweight fighters between 2006 and 2018.
Her lone losses come to Miesha Tate and Leslie Smith, both a 135-pounds.
If given a second chance with the UFC, Nakai believes that she could be a great matchup for current flyweight champ Valentina Shevchenko.
“I see that Valentina is a really good striker, but also she is a really good grappler,” Nakai told MMA Mania. “If I get a chance, I would like to fight against her.
“I really wish that my dream comes true and if I can have a match with Valentina, that would be really, really big,” she concluded.
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