Women's MMA has been on a rapid rise in the United States over the last 12 months. The most significant reason is due to the upstart women's promotion, Invicta Fighting Championships. The promotion returns tonight, as Invicta FC 4 will be taking place from Memorial Hall in Kansas City, Kan. The main event of the card is for the inaugural strawweight title between veteran Carla Esparza and Bec Hyatt.
Hyatt, who is from Brisbane, Queensland in Australia, embarked on a 26-hour flight to arrive in Kansas City. She has noticed huge differences between her homeland and the United States.
"The meals are twice the size here (United States), and we (in Australia) drive on the other side of the road, so we are starting to freak out driving around here," Hyatt told Bleacher Report. "There are some pretty crazy drivers. We thought we were going too slow for the speed limit, but everyone was just speeding around us."
Getting started in MMA can be tricky for a woman due to the fact of a lack of training partners. For Hyatt, though, she got that start doing another sport.
"I actually started kickboxing to lose weight, and that's where I met my husband (Dan), who was a MMA fighter," Hyatt stated. "He actually got me into the sport."
MMA promotions in Australia are scarce due to a majority of the states not having regulation. A lack of women competing in her home country and the success of Invicta has brought Hyatt to the United States for this opportunity.
"The (United) States has always been my goal, especially when Invicta came on the map," Hyatt stated. "That was definitely my goal of getting to fight in Invicta, winning a few fights and then getting a title fight. It turns out, it is my debut fight for my title fight. It's all happening really quickly, and it is really exciting."
Hyatt is the first Australian woman to compete in MMA here in the United States. "Rowdy" is honored to be the first woman to achieve that goal.
"It's a huge thing for me," Hyatt stated. "It is definitely the most proudest moment and biggest achievement to be the first Australian woman to make out here fighting for Invicta. I have the whole Australian MMA scene behind me. I'm going to do us proud. It is nice to represent Australia."
Hyatt was originally supposed to face Joanne Calderwood on the preliminary portion of the card. When Claudia Gadelha got injured in training last week, Hyatt got the call from Invicta to face Esparza. The Australian knows that she has a tough task ahead of her in Esparza.
"She's (Esparza) really good," Hyatt stated. "She's on a four-fight winning streak and has really put a mark on the 115-pound division. She's won by submission and TKO. Her wrestling is awesome. She's got quite the resume. She wants to come out and bang, but she also likes to wrestle. She's quite well-rounded."
Some people still feel that women's MMA will never reach the heights of the men, even with the popularity the women have gained in the last year. Hyatt feels that the women are finally getting the recognition but feels men and women aren't that much different.
"It is (women's MMA) just skyrocketed in the last year," Hyatt stated. "It is only going to be getting bigger and better. It is about time the women get the recognition. We are athletes and no different (than men). I always say we have breasts, and that's the only difference. We are knocking on the door, and you can't kick us out forever. I'm glad we finally got here. It is only bigger and better things to come."
Unless otherwise stated, all quotes were obtained firsthand.
You can listen to the complete interview with Bec Hyatt here.
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