Making your UFC debut can be an overwhelming emotional experience for fighters. Making your debut in your home country while sporting an undefeated record can be pressure cooker of stress ready to spill over.
Known as the Queen of Japanese MMA, Rin Nakai takes on former Strikeforce champion and UFC title contender Miesha Tate at UFC Fight Night 52 in Saitama, Japan and has no intentions of losing in front of the Japanese crowd.
“I take very seriously the (title) of being a pioneer for Japanese female MMA. I don’t want to lose in front of all the Japanese fans. I am the Queen of Pancrase and I want to defend that (title) in the UFC,” said Nakai during the UFC Fight Night 52 media day.
The 27-year-old women’s bantamweight made her professional debut in 2006 and has emassed a 16-0 record, but she’s received some criticisms since signing with the UFC about the quality of her past opponents.
“I don’t care about the critics, I care about winning fights. That is what I have been able to do this far. I think I can fight as well as Miesha Tate does, I think I am as good as her. And that is all that matters – the fight on Saturday,” she said.
“The critics aren’t part of the fight. I trained so hard to make this UFC fight happen, and I am excited for everyone who has heard only about my name or seen my videos now gets to see me fight. Of course, I want to be the Queen of the UFC (UFC champion) but I always focus on the fight in front of me, and that is Tate,” added Nakai.