DM: How did you get started in MMA? Did you start off as a fan or did you transition from wrestling, BJJ, or something else?
MK: I wanted to get back into martial arts after taking some time off while in college. There was an ATT right near my house that was opening up and I decided to start training. I got hooked and became interested in competing. When I was little I trained in Tae Kwon Do and Kung Fu and was always a martial arts fan.
DM: Why MMA? What about this sport makes it appealing for you to be an athlete in?
MK: It’s so challenging mentally and physically and that’s what’s appealing to me. I also love the atmosphere at the gym. Lots of cool people training, working hard and having a good time.
DM: What did you do (for work) before you started training in MMA?
MK: I am still working in TV post production. That’s what I went to school for and I’ve been working ever since I graduated.
DM: What do you feel is your biggest challenge in being a female in a predominantly male sport? Finding training partners? Finding competition? Getting exposure?
MK: No I think the exposure is actually easier being a girl. Most MMA fans really embrace it. It is challenging to find other women who train…so yes I’d say finding sparring partners. However, rolling and sparring with the guys really prepares you well. It gives me confidence on fight night that I’ve been in some wars at the gym with the guys. So the fight isn’t going to be as hard as training.
DM: With more and more legitimate up-and-coming female mixed martial artists like yourself, how do you set yourself apart from them?
MK: There are plenty of serious women pro fighters out there who train and love the sport as much as I do. I like to set myself apart by always putting on an exciting show. The fans want to see hard hits, kicks, cool bjj transitions, submissions, knock outs and knock downs and that’s my goal when I get in there.
DM: You’re with American Top Team; who do you train with? Are there other females in your camp or do you train with the guys to keep a competitive edge on your opponents?
MK: When I trained in ATT in Florida I trained with Marcos Da Matta, Wesley Brandon, Jessica Aguilar and the rest of the guys there. Here at ATT CT there aren’t any other female MMA fighters so I stick with the guys. There are a bunch of guys my size who push me hard in practice so it’s great having them as training partners.
DM: Your professional record is at 2-0. How many amateur bouts have you had? Where did they take place? In the US, elsewhere?
MK: I had no amateur MMA experience going into the fight with Kim. I did however, have 4 amateur kickboxing fights. I was 4-0 and won 2 amateur titles. They mostly took place in Florida and one was in NY.
DM: Which of the two pro fights was more gratifying for you? Stoppage due to submission over Kim Couture or going the distance in the Caldwell fight?
MK: Both fights were really gratifying for me. The Kim fight was so exciting because I was able to finish her early and got to experience of being in the cage for the first time. The fight with Marissa was a war and was so much fun. I got to showcase a lot more of my skills in that fight so I was happy with it. At the same time I learned a lot about where I’m at and what I need to focus on improving.
DM: What is your favorite way to finish a fight? Anyway you can or do you have a preferred method?
MK: I love the stand up game a tiny bit more than the ground so if I had to choose I’d say KO by punches or a kick.
DM: How would you best describe yourself when you’re in the cage?
MK: I’m pretty calm in the cage. I like to be in there and compete and put on a show for the fans. I think MMA is a beautiful art. So when I’m in there I am just focused on the openings I see and my next combo. Since I’m still learning so much it’s a high for me to throw new combinations and just listen to my coaches and follow directions.
DM: What are you interests when you’re not training?
MK: I love to snowboard, watch movies, relax with my family/friends/dog, and go out to eat. I also enjoy watching football, going to the beach and shopping.
DM: Do you have your next fight lined up? In XFC again? Who will your opponent be? When will it take place?
MK: I’ll definitely fight again for the XFC in 2011. I also plan on fighting in other local organizations. I don’t have any fight set in stone at the moment but we are looking!
DM: What female fighter(s) do you look up to if any (in any promotion) Would you want to fight them someday?
MK: I look up to Jessica Aguilar, Meisha Tate, Zoila Frausto, Sara Kaufman and basically all the highly skilled girls who are out there. I try to catch as much women’s MMA as possible and I respect all the other girls who fight a ton because I know of the sacrifices they make to do what they love.
DM: Is there any one person you have to thank for being where you’re at now in this sport?
MK: I want to thank my coaches and training partners the most. Rob Cipriano has put a ton of time into me and has taken my game to the next level. American Top Team is the best camp in the world and I am inspired by the talented guys who I train with everyday.
DM: If you stopped training/fighting tomorrow, what would you be doing? Would you still be involved with the sport somehow?
MK: I’d love to be involved in the sport in other ways. If I had to stop training and fighting I’d like to coach other girls or do some commentating. The gym is a big part of my life and it brings lots people together who all love the same thing. I’ve met lots of cool people through this sport and I really can’t see myself not being able to be involved in one way or the other.
DM: What advice would you give other females out there who may be interested in getting into MMA?
MK: Just do it! Training is hard and can be very challenging mentally and physically but it’s a lot of fun at the same time. Not only will it transform your body but there’s no greater feeling than competing and learning new techniques. It’s a great lifestyle and everyone I know who’s gotten involved in MMA is hooked for life. It’s a lifestyle.