Kanako Murata (born August 10, 1993) is an elite wrestler turned pro MMA fighter.
When she was a child, Kanako began training judo under her grandfather.
During elementary school, for two years in a row, Kanako placed third in All-Japan Judo Championships. And at the same time, Kananko won All-Japan Fourth-Grade Sumo Championships as well.
Kanako entered Taisei Junior High School in Aichi prefecture, an institution with a nationally known powerhouse judo team.
In her first year, as a seventh grader, Kanako placed third in the All-Japan Junior High School Judo Championships, and in the following year, she won this tournament, and became a national champion at 52 kg and under.
In August 2008, Kankao won Thüringen International Games, however, before her third year in junior high school (equivalent to freshmen in US high school) judo made rules change - prohibited many of Kanako's favorite moves such as kataguruma and sukui-nage.
This is when Kanakno decided to make a switch to freestyle wrestling, and entered Abegakuin High School.
Kanako's wrestling career blossomed immediately. She won all titles possible - All Japan High School Championships, Junior Olympics, Junior Queen's Cup and also Asia Cadet Wrestling Championships.
In 2010, Kanako won World Junior Wrestling Championships at 59 kg & under.
In 2012 Kanako entered Nippon University and during her four years in university, she won Asia Wrestling Championships, International Games in Russia, World Junior Wrestling Championships, Golden Grand Prix, and All-Japan Wrestling Championships.
In 2016 Kanako made a pro MMA debut in RIZIN Fighting Federation, defeated Natalya Denisova in an unanimous decision.
After posting 4-1 record with Japanese promotion, Kanako signed with IFC (Invicta Fighting Championship) in 2019, and in just in the second fight with world's best all-women MMA promotion, edged out Emily Ducote in a split decision and became IFC's strawweight champion.
Kanako signed with UFC (Ultimate Fighting Championship) in the following year, and dominated Randa Markos in the Octagon debut.
MMA record: 12-2-0 / height: 5'1" (156 cm) / weight: 115 lbs (52 kg)