Sometimes in life, when opportunity comes knocking you have to open the door and superman punch whoever is standing on the other side. That is exactly what Australian MMA fighter Bec Hyatt plans to do this Saturday night when she meets Carla Esparza in the main event of Invicta Fighting Championships 4 in Kansas City, Kansas for the strawweight championship of the world.
There aren’t many women in the division that would be overly excited to fight a top contender like Esparza on one week’s notice but when original opponent Claudia Gadelha pulled out due to an injury, Hyatt was more than happy to step up to the plate and swing.
With a record of 4-1 and only about a year’s worth of professional fighting experience, Hyatt isn’t exactly the first fighter that pops into your mind as a last minute replacement in a championship fight. She was initially slated to fight undefeated and top ranked Joanne Calderwood on the card and many pundits figured Calderwood would be the best choice to fight Esparza in a title scrap but Calderwood turned the fight down.
Invicta offered the fight to a few other unnamed strawweights and they all turned it down as well, all but one. Hyatt accepted the offer without much hesitation at all. She plans on capitalizing on this chance and kicking off 2013 as a champion.
“This was too big of an opportunity to pass up and I feel like stylistically this could be a very exciting fight if she comes out and wants to stand with me,” Hyatt told BJPenn.com Radio.
“She’s a great wrestler so I’m just going to let my hands go and try to stop that takedown.”
Hailing from Brisbane, Australia, Hyatt enters the cage Saturday night with a four fight win-streak and three finishes. It was her first professional fight, however, that led her on the trail of success that she’s been on and that is simply because she reaped the benefits of tasting the nastiness of defeat right from the get go.
Hyatt made her MMA debut against Rhiannon Thompson in October 2011 and was knocked out with a head kick in the first round. Losing that fight motivated and molded Hyatt into the dangerous fighter she is today.
“That loss made me more determined to prove that I’ve got more to show. My heart was broken that I lost and got knocked out but I had the time of my life in there. I was just excited to get in there and fight and I was throwing everything at her so it was quite exciting,” Hyatt said.
“I learned a lot from that loss, I was too eager and I got caught because I made a stupid mistake. I’ve got nothing to be afraid of now, a lot of fighters don’t know what it feels like to lose or get knocked out and I felt that in my very first fight.”
Unlike her opponent Esparza who comes from a solid high school and collegiate wrestling background, Hyatt didn’t grow up training in a form of combat sports or martial arts. She stumbled across a kickboxing gym in an effort to lose weight but would soon find a new passion instead.
“I walked into a kickboxing class to lose weight because I was quite over weight and that’s where I met my husband who is an MMA fighter as well,” Hyatt said.
“He was running a club in Tasmania and he invited me along to the group to try it out and give it a shot. I was a little worried at first but he told me I’d love it and I did, I’ve never looked back.”
As much as women’s MMA is growing in popularity, it is still very difficult for many women to get noticed. One of the most argued topics is whether or not looks should overshadow a female fighters’ abilities. Hyatt believes both are important but that women shouldn’t look masculine in this sport.
“I think a mix [of good looks and talent] is good. I think that the women who are competing need to look like women, I don’t agree with them coming out and looking like men and all jacked up,” Hyatt said.
“They have to look like strong athletic women and I feel that is half the reason why people tune in. Sometimes you’ll watch and go ‘is that a dude or a girl?’ but at the same time it is about our skills and it shouldn’t matter what we look like at the end of the day, so long as we can fight.”
To watch Hyatt headline Invicta FC 4 against Esparza, go to InvictaFC.com this Saturday night and order the online PPV for only $7.95.
To listen to the full interview you can do so below:
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