As the UK MMA scene becomes stronger and stronger, it was only a matter of time before women in the UK would take a liking to combat sports and start fighting in promotions such as UCMMA and BAMMA.. With more people becoming fans of the sport, more people are easing to the idea of two women fighting the cage.
As the British Invasion of the MMA continues, one of the UK’s top female prospects, Michelle Tyler, has taken the lead and will have her first fight in arguably the UK’s biggest fight promotion, UCMMA on December 4th. Tyler faces a tough opponent in Vicki Watts, who fights out of Rosi Sexton’s gym. MMA UK editor Aundre Jacobs spoke to Michelle about how she got into MMA, her opponent and her background as a fighter.
Michelle on being nervous before her fight on December 4th
I’m not nervous yet. I’m sure I will be when it gets a little bit closer. At the moment, I’m just really excited for the fight, so the nerves haven’t kicked in yet. I’m sure they will nearer to the fight. It’s the first female fight on the show and I’m at the fights quite a bit and all the guys know me from Thai Boxing and grappling, so I feel at home here.
Michelle on her background
I started Thai boxing about 7 years ago. I had a really stressful job that I really just wanted to get away from. I wanted to start enjoying myself, rather than focusing on work too much. I absolutely loved Thai Boxing and after 6 months I had my first fight. I contiuted to train in Thai Boxing, went to Holland and had a few fights there. When I got back to England, I didn’t enjoy the Thai Boxing as much as I did I did in Holland and that’s when I realised that it was time to train something else. That’s where I started to learn the ground work, the wrestling and a little bit of jiu jitsu.
Michelle on her opponent
I don’t know much about my opponent at all. Her name is Vicki Watt’s and apparently she’s a very good grappler. She’s been around for a very long time and trains at a really good gym. She also teaches MMA as well, so I think she’s going to be a really tough opponent. Even though her grappling is very good, this is MMA, so I expect her striking to be good as well.
Michelle on her strengths as a fighter
I think predominantly I’m a striker, but I have been working a lot more on my ground work. Obvously, my strength is striking though, so I intend to bang a little bit.
Michelle on Women’s MMA in the UK
It’s coming a long pretty nicely. I’ve noticed from the amount of girls that we’ve got coming to the gym (London Shoot Fighters, Hook’s Gym) that it’s becoming pretty big. We’ve got female boxers, female wrestlers, female grapplers, female Thai boxers and now they’re at a gym where it does everything. The boxers are now coming to the grappLing side of things and are giving it a try and that’s just going to build more female fighters. It’s all about finding someone with the same experience and same weight, but I think it’s going to come a long really well.
Obviously, there’s still this thing where guys don’t like to see girls fight, get hit or get cut. So depending on how this fight goes will determine whether the guys really love it and want to see another one, or it could all go wrong and they may never want to see anymore female fights at all. I know sometimes that when I’m in the gym and I’m sparring with one of the guys, they get a little bit nervous as I get hit pretty hard.
I think all the guys believe that women should be treated equally and they don’t really see female fighters as any different from any other fighters, but I think it’s just something that’s embedded in men from birth that they need to protect us. The same way a woman wouldn’t like it if they saw a child fighting, I think that men have that sort of instinct in regards to protection.
Michelle on training at London Shoot Fighters
It’s great training at London Shoot Fighters. They have an excellent boxing coach, their Thai Boxing is great, they’ve got all aspects covered. Everyone their teaches to a high standard. We’ve got the same coaches that train John Hathaway who fights for the UFC and they’re training us and teaching our classes as well.
To find out more about Michelle visit her site at www.michelletyler-officialwebsite.co.uk
Follow her on twitter @michelle_tyler7