- Jul 9, 2017
In essentially all sports, it’s incredibly rare to see athletes competing at the age of 40 or older. It’s even more rare to see said athletes being able to stay relevant and competitive at their respective highest levels.
Regarding the world of MMA, the likes of Randy Couture and Yoel Romero may come immediately to mind when thinking of fighters that had their best success later on in their lives. While Couture is now comfortably retired and Romero is still an elite middleweight contender, the latter isn’t the only ageless wonder still making waves.
RIZIN Fighting Federation’s 108-pound super atomweight division houses several of the world’s top talents in that class. Among them, however, is the eldest of the elite fighters in the world today. And as evidenced by her still-developing career to this point, age is truly just a number.
45-year old Miyuu Yamamoto began her athletic journey by wrestling as a young teenager as early as age nine. Earning championship victories in her home country of Japan at 17, Yamamoto was seemingly destined to be a phenomenal grappler. That was only further displayed when she continued to dominate her way through the Japanese wrestling scene during the ’90s.
Wrestling is in the blood of the Yamamoto family as Miyuu’s father, Ikuei, was a former Olympian in his own right. And like her father, she too aspired to compete on the grandest sporting stage. Although it would never come to fruition as Miyuu aimed to get to the Olympics on three different occasions, she still found success on and off in the wrestling world throughout the 2000s and early 2010s. Come 2016 and it was time to try her hand in a new venture.
“No, everything is perfect for me,” Yamamoto replied to The Scrap in response to if she wishes she would have gotten into MMA sooner. “Trainings are the same [compared to wrestling], train hard as much as I can. But mentally I need to prepare for fights. It’s more intense because I get in the ring to hurt people. I need to be strong inside too.”
Continued: Experienced Rookie: Miyuu Yamamoto leads a legacy with a smile