Yuka Tsuji

Holding an impressive record of 24-3 and having fought since 2001, Yuka Tsuji is a true pioneer in MMA. Tsuji went to Chukyo Women's University and during that time participated in the school's prestigious wrestling program. In 1997 she placed 3rd in the Asian Championships, in 1998 she got 3rd in the All Japan Tournament, in 1999 she won the Poland Open and in 2000 she won the Swedish Cup. With a strong base in wrestling it only made sense that Tsuji would transition to MMA.

Known for her singlet and demon mask, Tsuji won her first 8 fights, 6 by submission. With 5 of these submissions coming under 30-second ground rules they are even more impressive. 30-second ground rules meant that the fight was automatically stood up after 30 seconds, which led to defensive stalling naturally. In her 9th fight, she lost to Ana Tavares via submission. This was only the beginning of Tsuji's career. Following her first defeat she went on to win 10 in a row before facing Tavares again, this time winning by TKO. Whereas Miku Matsumoto led the early charge and headlined several mixed-gender cards, Tsuji is the undeniable champion when it comes to headlining cards. Throughout her career, Tsuji has been the main-event 19 times. The highlight being Inoki Bom-Ba-Ye 2003. On a card featuring Rich Franklin, Lyoto Machida, Alistar Overeem, Kazuyuki Fujita, Din Thomas, Fedor Emelianenko, Josh Barnett, Semmy Schilt and Aleksander Emelianenko, Yuka Tsuji was the main event. People like to talk about Ronda Rousey headlining events, but Yuka headlined on an incredibly stacked huge card.

Not retired at the age of 39, Tsuji has slowed down of late and hasn't fought in several years. Her legacy lives on in the opportunities she created for other women and the women she has trained, she used to corner Rin Nakai to name one.

Women's Freestyle Wrestling Asian Championship 3rd Place 1997
2002 Japan Cup Middleweight Tournament Champion
First Smackgirl Lightweight Champion
First Valkyrie Featherweight Champion

Victories Over:
"V.V" Mei Yamaguchi
Saori Ishioka
Ham Seo Hee
Ana Tavares
Tomomi Sunaba 2x's
Hisae Watanabe
Erica Montoya


  1. Too bad she and Fujii never fought against each other. Tsuji deserved more recognition in the West. Along with Fujii and Matsumoto, the three were the Trinity of WMMA in Japan for a long time and it's unfortunate that the prime of the three was before the current WMMA boom as the three could've been UFC champions. I think a character from the manga Teppuu is based on her, which just shows the impact she had.

    1. She is definitely under recognized for her contributions to the sport. She headlined and was a major draw for so long in Japan. It is unfortunate that they can't enjoy the boom, but they can sit back and look at all of the hard work and energy the put forward into making WMMA more popular and know that the boom stems from their efforts.