It’s ten days out from my next fight. It’s starting to feel real now. Around this time, I often find myself thinking back over the previous fights I’ve had; and wondering how I ended up here, doing it again.
I’ve been around in this sport for a good while. My first professional fight was back in 2002. For a lot of that time, I didn’t really have much of a clue what I was doing. It’s been a journey with a lot of ups and downs. It’s taken me a while to figure this stuff out. I wasn’t a natural athlete, or a natural fighter. I started out in MMA with a bit of grappling and little else. It’s taken time – years of time, in the gym, day in, day out over more than a decade for me to get to where I am.
Now, with the internet, people can watch fights from years ago and judge them by today’s standards. Plenty of people still judge me based on things that happened before they even knew MMA existed. Once the video is on youtube, there’s no difference between 7 days and 7 years. I’m not going to make excuses for any of those performances – they speak for themselves. But that’s the fighter I was then, not the fighter I am now.
I think my last 4 fights since I’ve been training at Next Generation (Sally Krumdiack, Roxanne Modafferi, Aisling Daly and Alexis Davis) show a fairer reflection of where I am now than anything that went before. Sure, there’s still plenty of room for improvement. But by and large, I’d say they’re a respectable showing.
My next fight is in 10 days time, in my home town of Manchester. It’s the first ever women’s UFC fight in Europe. This is my opportunity to show the world the fighter I’ve become. More important to me than winning or losing is that it’s a performance I can be proud of. I want this to be the first fight that people think of when my name is mentioned, for the right reasons. I want it to do justice to the people around me who have put so much time and effort into making me what I am. If I can do that, I’m confident the result will take care of itself.