The question everyone keeps asking me is “so, when are you fighting next?”. The real answer is that it’s taken me some time to figure out what I wanted to do. Between injuries and some personal stuff going on, I wasn’t sure for a while whether I wanted to fight again.
I spent a few months talking this over with people close to me, and getting different perspectives. Something finally clicked though when I was chatting to referee and former fighter Marc Goddard a few weeks ago. He hit the nail on the head when he said: “It’s not about proving anything to anyone else, it’s about closure for you”. That was exactly it.
I recognise the danger here. Fighters are notorious for always wanting just one more fight. We tend to believe that if only we had one more chance, we could produce the kind of performance that we’d finally be satisfied to retire on. That kind of perfection is elusive, though, and chasing it very often does more harm than good. At the same time, 2013 was a crazy year for me. I’m glad I had many of those experiences; but it’s not the way I want my 12 years in this sport to finish.
For me, it’s not ultimately about winning or losing any more. Don’t get me wrong – while you’re preparing for a fight, you live, eat, breathe it. Everything you do or think is focused around getting that victory; for that second when your hand is raised at the end. While you’re in there, it’s everything. But having a few months away from the sport has made it possible to step back and look at the real reasons why I did it all. If winning fights was all there was to it, then it would be too shallow, too unpredictable, too fleeting a thing to build my life around. There has to be more to it, and I think I understand better now what that is. I’m in a good place right now. I’m back in the gym, and enjoying training again. Along with that, I know there is still some unfinished business that I need to take care of before I move on. Not to prove anything to anyone else, but for me.
Once I’d decided that, the next question was “who?”. There are a few names I’ve been thinking about; there are several women out there who I respect and would still like to fight. The one I really want, though, is one that should have happened a few times, but for one reason or another never came together. I think even now, at this stage in our careers, we would put on a great fight, one that a lot of people would like to see.
So – Megumi Fujii – what do you think? I know you officially retired after your last fight, and if you really don’t want another one, then I understand – but I have to ask. I think it could be good for both of us. If you want it, Cage Warriors have offered to put this fight on, at any weight you choose between 115 lbs and 125 lbs. How about it?