RIZIN FF, Invicta FC Star Kanako Murata Signs with UFC

Kanako Murata headed to the UFC
Kanako Murata vs. Emily Ducote Credit: Dave Mandel/Invicta FC

Japanese standout Kanako Murata, who has been one of the bigger success stories for RIZIN FF, has signed with the UFC.

The Invicta FC strawweight champion announced the news on social media Sunday.

“I’ve signed a contract with the UFC!,” Murata wrote, adding that the move comes thanks to the support of many people.

Kanako Murata (11-1), originally from Matsuyama on the southern island of Shikoku in Japan, debuted with RIZIN in her very first fight in 2016 at RIZIN FF 1. She would travel to the U.S. for her next fight, earning a victory against Maia Kahaunaele-Stevenson, wife of UFC vet Joe Stevenson.

She then fought exclusively in Japan from until 2019, picking up notable wins over Kyra Batara (Combate Americas) and Angela Magana (of UFC fame) before jumping to Invicta FC. Submitting Liana Pirosin in June of last year, Murata would earn herself a strawweight title fight against Emily Ducote at Invicta FC 38 back in November — winning the vacant belt via split decision.

During her career, Murata has also fought for DEEP, Pancrase, and Shoot-Box. Her only career loss came to former UFC bantamweight Rin Nakai in 2016.

Murata’s former home, RIZIN Fighting Federation, also confirmed she was headed to the UFC Sunday, with a video message from the fighter.

No debut date or opponent for Murata has been announced. However, that news is likely to follow soon.