However life wasn’t straightforward. Yamaguchi was bullied in school due to the way in which she regarded and talked. Then on the age of 9 her mom died and he or she moved again to Japan to be along with her father.
Such a begin in life would show derailing for a lot of, however Yamaguchi discovered solace in her karate.
“It gave me confidence,” Yamaguchi advised CNN Sport’s Alex Thomas. “I used to be coaching my interior mentality. That helped me to remain sturdy.”
She returned to the US to review and found Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. From right here, her profession in blended martial arts (MMA) started.
And at Sunday’s ONE Championship occasion in Tokyo — the organisation’s 100th reside present — the 36-year-old Yamaguchi will compete in her 33rd combat in opposition to Taiwan’s Jenny Huang.
However her MMA profession might need simply ended after only one combat. “It was like a nightmare,” Yamaguchi stated of her 2007 debut bout.
“I assumed MMA is extra easy, straightforward. Simply punch, take them down, search for submission. For me it regarded fairly easy. Was capable of end my opponent within the first spherical. But when I could not then and I believe I’ll have misplaced that combat.”
Per week later Yamaguchi gained once more and every week after that, regardless of contemplating quitting halfway via her maiden event, she triumphed once more, claiming her first title because the champion of “The Subsequent Cinderella Event” within the light-weight division.
Yamaguchi laughs as she displays on life’s sliding doorways however her tone turns into extra sombre when requested what her mom would make of her success.
“Once I do one thing or after I problem one thing, I at all times take into consideration what I can say to my mom after I die,” stated Yamaguchi.
“So I need to face her with a giant smile and say, “I did the whole lot I can do. I loved my life.’ So if I can say that my mom can be joyful about it.”
If Yamaguchi can win this weekend, she could have a attainable shot on the Atomweight title belt. That belt is at the moment held by Singapore’s Angela Lee — who grew to become the youngest particular person to win an MMA belt when she defeated Yamaguchi in 2016 as a 19-year-old.
If Yamaguchi will get the chance to presumably enact some revenge, it could represent an achievement that might little doubt make her mom proud.