Is Japan’s Hisae Watanabe The Scariest Female Fighter?

Hisae Watanabe is by no means a household name in the global fight world. It’s a shame, though, because during her days of active competition, Hisae was probably the scariest opponent any 105-pound woman ever got into the ring against. With a background in kickboxing, shootboxing, and just regular boxing, her striking might not have looked slick and crisp, but sweet fancy Moses, she packed a ton of power into her punches. Even a gigantic, overly muscled fighter like Cris Cyborg tends to need a flurry of blows to put an opponent away, but Watanabe melted faces and stole souls with some devastating one-hitter quitters.

Those knockouts, plus her iconic look of a leopard-print, cavewoman-style two piece and matching dyed hair, made Watanabe a very memorable figure in the ring. At least, until her punches land, and then memories start getting hazier. There are probably at least half a dozen women walking around in Japan right now who get extremely distressed by leopard-print anything, but have no idea why.

It may seem a little odd to bring up the admittedly impressive accomplishments of a fighter who last competed in a 2012 exhibition match. Well, unfortunately for the brains of all tiny fighting ladies around the globe… SHEEE’S BAAACK. Hisae Watanabe will be returning to professional competition on Feb. 7, at WSOF GC 2: Japan.

World Series of Fighting spun off an independent, international branch of its operations called Global Championship, and its second event, available as an iPPV on Sunday at midnight ET, will see Hisae return to action against Ye Ji Lee. Because Japan is unfathomably cruel when it comes to combat sports, Hisae, a noted and known destruction machine, has been pitted against Lee, an actual, literal child.

Ye Ji is only 16, having been born a mere three years before Hisae made her MMA debut, and was only 8 when Watanabe first retired in 2007. Lee is currently 0-1, having lost her debut by TKO to Satoko Shinashi, who, incidentally was one of Watanabe’s more spectacular highlight reel knockout victims back in 2006.