There aren't many female out there willing to accept a fight for the Invicta Fighting Championships Strawweight Title on less than two weeks' notice. In fact, a few ladies turned the fight down when presented with the opportunity.
But not Bec Hyatt.
The "Rowdy" mother of two, originally from Tazmania, is Australia's top female prospect and was originally expected to face Muay Thai smashing machine Joanne Calderwood on the Invicta FC 4 main card for her promotional debut. When Calderwood turned down a title opportunity against Carla Esparza in the main event, Hyatt had no reservations stepping in to fill the void.
Riding a four fight winning streak, Hyatt has the skills and the look of a future strawweight star with her leopard print forearm tattoos and unique lip piercings paired with an infectious smile.
While she's potentially biting off more than she can chew against Esparza this Saturday night (Jan. 5, 2013) as she battles Esparza for the inaugural Invicta Fighting Championships Strawweight title, Hyatt couldn't be happier knowing she's going to get the type of tough fight she "trains her ass off for,"
Hyatt spoke with MMAmania.com about leaving Australia for the first time, her nature of seeking the toughest fights and embracing the role of the underdog in this exclusive interview.
Check it out:
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You've mentioned that this is not only your first trip to America but also your first time even leaving Australia. What's this experience been like? It's got to be a bit of a shock, right?
Bec Hyatt: Yes, definitely a shock. Everything is backwards here in America, it's really different. The seasons are opposite, you drive on a different side of the road so we actually hired a car today and have been driving around so it's a bit scary. All the food is amazing here and we went to a huge sports store and bought a whole bunch of gear because everything's so cheap. The people here in Kansas City have been really nice, very helpful and it's nice to not have it be a hassle. It's been really cool.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Did you get any special advice from fellow fighters and trainers to deal with the time difference and the jetlag considering this is a five round fight and you'll be having less than a week to acclimate?
Bec Hyatt: Yeah, everyone suggested that I change my sleeping pattern before I leave but I was lucky that my flight had us getting into Kansas City at night time so we went through this huge day of flying and we got here at night so we were almost set up perfectly for when we got here that way.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Let's talk about you getting this opportunity. Your favorite fight ever was your first fight, which was a knockout loss and your least favorite was your most recent one, which was your easiest, a lopsided 37 second TKO victory. So to me, it was a no-brainer that you were going to accept this fight against Carla Esparza on short notice. Does taking such a tough fight like this speak volumes about the type of person you are?
Bec Hyatt: Yes, most definitely. I'm always up for a challenge and always willing to test myself. I don't like an easy fight and I was really disappointed with my last fight. It's not what I'm in this sport for, it's not what I train my ass off for eight to 12 weeks. I'm training for a fight so I want to have a hard and exciting fight. I'm definitely in the right mindset for this one. I'm not scared. I'm not gonna back down. They called on the right girl for this one.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Your very refreshing, even your highlight reel, which has all your best moments thus far, it finishes with your knockout loss from the fight fight of your career. I can't think of any other fighter ever that would add them getting knocked out to finish off their highlight reel. You certainly aren't afraid to showcase everything.
Bec Hyatt: (laughs) No, I'm not afraid at all. If anyone wanted to see it, they can YouTube my name and they'll find it anyways. I've got nothing to hide. I'm proud of that fight. That fight was my favorite like you said. It just proves that you have to put yourself out there and take the risks. I always say that you're either the hammer or you're the nail. Whatever happens, I was in there, I was having fun and it's all worth it in the end because I get to put my skills on the line and test them and have a ball while I'm doing it. I'm not afraid to expose my flaws. It was definitely one of my flaws, my biggest mistake anyways.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): These past couple weeks you've been exposed to a ton of professionalism at the highest levels of men's and women's MMA with the UFC on FX 6 event at Gold Coast and being "blown away" by Invicta's treatment of the ladies since you've arrived in the US. Can you explain what it's like being at the top levels of the sport for the first time?
Bec Hyatt: It feels like all the hard work was worth it and I'm actually making it somewhere. It's so great to actually feel like a professional sport and people are taking you seriously. I've definitely been blown away bit it all.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Speaking of people not taking you seriously, you've talked about this before that it was one of the biggest hurdles for you as an athlete, to get everyone to take a female Australian fighter seriously. What has been the hardest part of getting into MMA and getting people to take you seriously?
Bec Hyatt: The hardest thing I think for women in Australia is finding opponents, especially at your own weight. That's the hardest thing because it's just not a big enough talent pool yet. There's not enough athletes competing. It's slowly getting there but it's slow and most of the girls are quite heavy as well so most of the little girls have to take fights at higher weight classes because they can't find anyone to fight.
Other than that, it's just trying to convince people to take you seriously. You know the stereotype. You tell someone you're a female fighter and they think all you do is pull hair and scratch with your fingernails. They're slowly starting to recognize that we have skills and are actually athletes but it's a very slow process.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You did a lot of work with wrestlers with your preparation for your Invicta debut, so you were actually a bit lucky with the Esparza opportunity due to your pre-fight preparation. What was it like working with the NCAA wrestlers in advance of this fight?
Bec Hyatt: Yeah, it just so happens I was working with these guys and then the fight turned out the way it did. I've been training with Danny Galvan from the States. These past six months, he's been doing some work with MMA fighters on the Gold Coast and he's been traveling to Brisbane just to train me and a few other guys. He's awesome the way he breaks things down and puts it all together with the transitions to MMA. He's shown me some little things that really helps everything start to click and my main training partner for wrestling has been Zarina Bridgitte, a national wrestling champ and she travels all around the world to compete representing Australia. I can't wait to get in there and prove that Aussie girls can wrestle too!
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): You posted a video blog the other day and something that really stood out to me was that moment where you left your kids for the day to go train. That was really emotional for you. How difficult is it leaving them for a while week to come to the United States and fight over here?
Bec Hyatt: It's been really hard, but they know I'm coming back and I call them and talk to them to make sure they're okay. It's hard though. Because I have to leave them twice a day to train, they get quite tired and upset at night and they stand at the door and cry when I leave and that's when I get emotional. They're with my mother right now so they're in good hands. As long as I can check in with them, I'm okay.
Bec Hyatt: He's awesome. We've been in touch with him ever since I was in labor with my last son and my husband was messaging him telling him we were about to have a baby and we were going to name it after him and we always looked up to him and all that. He's been great. He's asked us to send him photos of him, give updates on him because he was premature. We had a few complications and stuff and he was always checking in to see if everything was okay. I love following him on facebook and watching what he's up to. He does amazing things and he's definitely an inspiration.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Your husband is an MMA fighter so it's not a big shock that you ended up fighting, but you got into it to just get in shape at first and you fell in love. What kind of situation were you in physically when you first started training?
Bec Hyatt: I was quite overweight and unmotivated and couldn't do anything good with my life. I got into the sport at first to just hit pads and stuff to love weight and that's when I met my husband. He was fighting and he convinced me to check out his club and I was afraid of wrestling and the sweaty men but he convinced me to go to his club and check it out and I ended up falling in love. It's an awesome sport, the rawest form of competition and I'll always be thankful and have that desire to compete. As long as I'm good at something, I just want to compete keep testing myself.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): In the lead up to this fight, you're actually auctioning off one of your "pink cupcake" sports bras for charity to raise some money for breast cancer research. Can you go into detail on that?
Bec Hyatt: Yeah, it's a drive to get some of the female fighters to donate some sports bras whether they've been worn at weigh-ins or competed in them and they had to sign it and ship it off to them. They put them up on Ebay to help raise awareness for breast cancer. It's a good cause and Invicta suggested it as well so I'm all for it. I couldn't be any happier to find my cupcake bra and get it auctioned off. Anything for charity. I don't mind and hopefully it gets some money and helps raise awareness.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Carla Esparza is one of the top ranked female 115-pounders in the world. What's your mindset like going into this main event as a pretty sizable underdog? I know you're not scared or anything, but what are you thinking as you prepare to face someone so tough?
Bec Hyatt: I love being the underdog. There's no pressure. I can go in there and do my thing because there's no repercussions. It's a win-win situation for me. I'm always excited, always anxious to get in there. I don't get nervous, I'm just excited to get in there and do it. We're calling it my own "Rocky story" with me coming in with that big step up in competition against the number four strawweight in the world. I'm ready for it.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): Have you had a chance to watch her last couple fights with Invicta? She's looked really good this past year to earn that shot at the inaugural title. What did you think of her performances?
Bec Hyatt: She's on a four fight win streak and she's been going through her opponents pretty quickly. Her last fight against Lynn Alvarez was awesome. I've always followed her, watched her fights and been interested in her career. I'm just so excited now that I'm actually getting a chance to fight her.
Brian Hemminger (MMAmania.com): If everything goes great for you and you go out there and fight perfectly, how would you like the fight to play out?
Bec Hyatt: Definitely with my hand raised at the end with a shiny belt around my waist. As long as the crowd's entertained and they get their money's worth, I don't mind.
Bec would like to thank her biggest sponsor Unrivaled, her gym Impact MMA and her training partners. Check out her Facebook fan page and her website RowdyBec.com. Lastly, you can follow Bec on Twitter @RowdyBec.
So what do you think, Maniacs?
Will Hyatt be able to rise to the occasion and give Esparza a worth title fight? How do you like the Aussie's odds against "The Cookie Monster" in the Invicta FC 4 main event on Saturday night?