Being a Woman in the MMA
Women’s MMA has come a long way. From rumours saying that there will never be women in the UFC, to having two weight classes jammed with talent and exciting fights. We have had so many women pave the way for the rest of us to make our mark now and in the future. These women have worked so hard to give the rest of us the respect we deserve inside and outside of the gym. We have gone from changing the mind of the head of the UFC Dana White, to MMA fans around the world.
Training as a female in a male dominated sport, I felt that I needed to gain respect by constantly proving myself. Coming from a wrestling background, I was prepared and didn't feel as intimidated when I walked into a room full of guys. I felt that it was more of a challenge for the men to get used to having me as a training partner. Nobody wanted to be partners with a girl, thinking they would get less of a workout with me. Guys would try and take it really easy on me, saying they didn't want to hurt me. I'm sure most women have gone through similar situations, but I just kept working hard. If they went light on me, I would go all out until they picked up the aggression and they started treating me the same as they guys, but without taking my head off. All of my training partners were guys of all sizes. At first I felt that this would be a big advantage for me. The guys were faster, stronger, and more explosive. One of the disadvantages was that I never knew if I was doing well, or if the guys were taking it easy on me. As competition became more challenging, I realized that training with women was a different kind of training all together, and something that I would need.
Women have a different body type. They are more flexible, some are double jointed, and they are harder to control on the ground and the fence. One of the biggest benefits of training with other women is that sparring sessions become like actual fights. When we, women, train with other women, I find that we have something to prove. We end up trying to take each other’s heads off, especially when we are in the same weight class. I feel that now is a great time for any women deciding if they should join a sport like MMA (wrestling, judo, etc.) to give it a shot. We have proven that we deserve the respect. Most MMA women have all started off shattering stereotypes by joining a boxing gym or a wrestling team, so that we could pursue something that we found fun or exciting. If we let our gender or the people saying that women’s sports will never be interesting stop us, just think of all the great female athletes that wouldn't be where they are today. We all face challenges. As women we have been facing challenges since the beginning, and we are still breaking boundaries every single day.