Bec “Rowdy” Hyatt is a strawweight fighter from Australia who made her debut back in 2011. Although she has only six fights under her belt, she has developed strong following with fans all over the globe.
In her last fight, Hyatt, who took the match on short notice, went all five rounds against veteran Carla Esparza. Although Esparza secured the Invicta FC Strawweight championship, Hyatt captured the hearts of Invicta FC fans. She is set to face undefeated Jasminka Civa at Invicta FC 5, April 5.
The Rowdy one took some time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about her upcoming fight with Cive and her early days of competition.
Al Stover: This is your second match for Invicta Fighting Championships? How does it feel to be with a promotion whose focus is helping women’s MMA grow?
Bec Hyatt: To be perfectly honest with you, it still feels amazing and surreal. Invicta Fighting Championships was my goal all through last year and I’m so very honored to be known as the first ever Australian to fight for the organization. Throughout the short amount of time that I’ve been involved with this sport, I’ve never before experienced the professionalism and standard that Janet Martin and Shannon Knapp provide, either as a fighter, a corner or a spectator.
It really is the little things that count and add up, and to say that Invicta FC treats their fighters like royalty would be an understatement. I really do hope to call this organization my home for a very long time to come!
AS: Most fighters are still fighting at preliminary card in their sixth fight. What was it like for you to have a championship fight against Carla Esparza in just your sixth professional bout?
BH: You know what, going into the fight, I knew the gravity of the situation, but it did feel like just any other fight to me. I’ve always drawn attention, so none of the lead up phased me and I was actually originally supposed to open the main card against Joanne Calderwood, so while the bump up to the main event for the inaugural title was unexpected to say the least, I like to think that I took it in my stride.
Carla Esparza is human, just like me, and she has two arms, two legs and a heartbeat, just like I do. I had absolutely nothing to lose and was more excited about the opportunity to mix it up with her if anything, as I’m actually a fan of hers and have been for some time now.
AS: Now you’re going to face Jasminka Cive at Invicta FC 5. She’s currently 5-0 and has finished her last four fights with her hands. What is your initial game plan against her? Are you going to try and stand with her or are you looking to maybe take the fight to the ground?
BH: Words can’t actually describe how excited I am for this to happen. Out with the old, in with the new! There’s been a lot of trash talk in the lead up to this fight, especially from Jasminka’s fiancé and I’m very much looking forward to humiliating them both. I have respect for my opponents experience, but as my trainer has said, “She does not beat you standing and especially on the ground.”
My confidence is at an all-time high, my training camp has been flawless to date and I’m very content with the game plan I’m going into the fight with. Obviously I’m not going to reveal my game plan, but let’s just say we know A LOT about Jasminka. She isn’t very popular in Austria it seems and she’ll need a whole hell a lot more than a mean scowl and a record built through her own promotion to defeat me on April 5th!
AS: How do you feel about returning to the Invicta cage after you put on a heck of a fight against Esparza?
BH: I’m like a little kid in a candy store right about now! I met so many amazing people at the last Invicta FC event and I can’t wait to reconnect with them all in a weeks’ time. I arrive in Kansas City on March 31st and just like last time, I’m looking forward to experiencing the Midwest again before my dreaded weight cut and no doubt another massive media onslaught. It was an amazing feeling stepping into the Invicta Fighting Championships cage back in January, but it’ll be even more amazing when I walk out of it with my hand raised.
AS: What are some of the things you learned from the loss to Esparza that you are putting towards your fight with Cive?
BH: I didn’t actually learn a whole hell of a lot from that fight with Esparza. When I accepted the fight, I knew I wasn’t going to be able to stop her shot, what with my year or so of wrestling experience against her decade? That’s why I decided to stick to my upright stance and go for the kill whenever possible, which almost paid off a couple times. What I did learn though, is that a lot of MMA “experts” really have no idea about this sport. I was a 10 to 1 underdog and almost everyone, including Esparza and my original opponent, predicted I wouldn’t make it out of round one.
I think a lot of people tend to see my constant promotional focus as a weakness or as a sign that I don’t take this sport seriously enough? Little do these people realize that I put in 2-3 sessions a day, six hours a day, six days a week without fail and I’ll stop at absolutely nothing until I have that bling bling. You know that song “Won’t Back Down”? Yeah, well that’s about me!
AS: You began training a way to lose weight and you would eventual meet your husband Dan Hyatt. What was the transition like, going from someone who just trained at the gym to becoming a full-time competitor?
BH: It was quite daunting at first but very rewarding in the end. Dan was actually my first ever trainer and has been a big influence in my career and life to date.
At first, I only wanted to do some kickboxing one on one’s to lose weight, but soon I got hooked into MMA and I haven’t looked back since. If I hadn’t of walked into the gym that day, I’d most likely still be overweight, unmotivated, binge drinking and serving people their food in the smallest state of Australia. While the road may be long and hard, it’s worth it in the end if what’s at the end of it is truly what you want.
The fact that I’m now a full time professional MMA athlete when compared to where I was three years ago, it’s actually quite mind blowing and I’m very proud of myself and thankful of everyone who has helped me get to where I am today.
AS: What are some of the important lessons you have learned since you started fighting?
BH: Fighting has taught me discipline and it has also humbled me in a way, both from a fighting perspective and a life perspective. I’m so very glad that I found this sport and lifestyle when I did and I’m planning on being involved in some capacity until the day I die. I think that a lot of people underestimate the importance of Martial Arts, but I can certainly vouch for it as being a positive influence in anyone’s life.
AS: I also saw that you also have two children. What is it like to balance the role of a fighter and the role of a parent? What do your kids think about you fighting?
BH: It can be really difficult at times, sometimes too much to handle but I make it work because I love this sport. I don’t believe any parent should sacrifice their dreams because they have children, as if there’s a will, there’s a way. Aside from the occasional lack of sleep, it isn’t as bad nowadays, but I certainly spend much less time with my children than I used to as well. Both my children are still too young to understand what I’m really doing, all they think at the moment is that mummy is just playing “punchy punch”.
AS: What if one day they came up to you and said, “Mom I want to be a fighter just like you.” What would your reaction be at that moment?
BH: I think it’d be a positive thing. Both my sons are already around this sport a lot and are wrestling and play fighting together regularly. Martial arts has literally changed my life so I would have no issues at all.
Is this the most profitable sport or lifestyle? Of course not, but it’s the funnest sport and lifestyle anyone could ever have I think. I get the impression that while my youngest son Enson, named after Japanese MMA legend Enson Inoue, will want to take up the sport, my eldest son Zake won’t have much interest at all. Either way, I’m certainly not going to force them into anything and I’m planning on letting them find their own way in life, just as I have.
AS: If you could go back in time and meet yourself moments before your first fight, what would you say to that Bec Hyatt who is stepping into the cage for the first time?
BH: I wouldn’t change anything. Even though I was fighting well out of my weight class, I was very relaxed and confident for that fight and have no regrets. A lot of people talk about how I should have done this or they would have done that, but aside from my sloppy defense, I’m content with how I fought in that fight given my 12 months experience. I am still bitterly disappointed about the loss though!
AS: Besides the fight, what are some of your goals you hope to accomplish before the end of 2013?
BH: Obviously my current focus is making a statement on April 5th. Aside from that, my goal is to earn another title shot with a full camp behind me, a title shot that I’ll certainly be asking for once my hand is raised next weekend. Either way, if I can get another two fights in after this one against whomever Janet and Shannon want, I’ll be a very happy girl. I’m keen to go whenever, wherever!
AS: What else would you like readers to know about you? Is anyone you would like to thank?
BH: I think the readers deserve to know that as a child, I wanted to grow up to be a strawberry. Please follow me on Twitter @RowdyBec everyone and a massive shout out to all my supporters! Without my supporters, I would be just another bare bum in the shower fighting over the scraps. A big thank you must also go out to Impact MMA, Integrated MMA, Danny Galvan, Americana MMA, Flex Nutrition, NRF Australia, ACR Security Protections and Alchemist MMA Mangement for all their help this training camp!
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Photos by Esther Lin for Invicta FC