The time has finally come for women to have their day in Mixed Martial Arts. Fighters like Gina Carano and Cris Cyborg paved the way for women to get noticed in an otherwise male dominated sport. Last week at UFC 157, the first ever women’s bantamweight title was on the line between the new face of women’s MMA, UFC bantamweight champion Ronda Rousey and challenger Liz Carmouche. It wasn’t the first fight of the night either, it was the main event.
The growth of women’s MMA in the Quad Cities is showing as well as for the first time in its organizations history, Extreme Caged Rentals and Caged Aggression will have the first women’s bantamweight title fight at Caged Aggression IX: Return of the Champions at the QCCA Expo Center on March 8th and 9th.
Jenna Fox (9-0), member of Central Illinois Combat Club, agrees that this is the perfect time to showcase her talent in the sport. Having played volleyball and track at United High School in Monmouth Illinois, just before graduation, Fox went to a local MMA gym because she had heard the workout was intense but didn’t intend on making fighting a full time thing.
“I originally had no plans to fight at all,” explained Fox. “The more I did it the more I wanted to compete in the cage to see if that was something I could handle.”
With an impressive nine wins and no losses, Fox has definitely proven she belongs in the cage. As any fighter knows, MMA is so much more than the fight itself. Some would say the training is sometimes more challenging than the actual fight itself.
Nutrition is also one of the key elements to the success of a fighter and in October, Fox made some drastic changes to her diet as she went on the Paleo Diet. “I avoid grains and dairy and anything that would cause allergic reactions,” explained Fox. “My body has responded very well to that.”
With her title fight being only a few weeks after the biggest title fight in the history of women’s MMA, Fox welcomes the attention and is not fazed from the pressure.
“It’s exciting that the door is open now and that’s something to look forward to in the future,” said Fox. “But I take it one fight at a time. It’s very cool to see women breaking down barriers now though.”
Focusing on her upcoming title fight against Kim Woods (3-0), Fox couldn’t be happier with ECR’s decision to make her fight one for the title. “I was really excited and really wanted to be the one to fight for it,” said Fox.
As the sport grows and more girls and women go to join gyms and look into MMA being something they would like to pursue, Fox has a message for them. “Don’t be too nervous,” said Fox. “As long as you go to the right gyms, people will teach you things and the training will get more intense as you learn to handle that.”
With her fight only a few days away, Fox’s ultimate goal is to be the first to wear the title belt across her waist but she also wants a tough fight for herself as well. “I feel like I have improved a lot over the past few months,” said Fox. “I want people to realize that I’m talented and I work hard and don’t give up. They are going to see big things from me in the future.”
Jenna Fox will face Kim Woods at Caged Aggression IX: Return of the Champions, Saturday March 9th at the QCCA Expo Center in Rock Island, IL. To buy tickets go to www.cagetix.com, The QCCA Expo Center or call 563-676-8700 for more information.