Kaitlin Young has faced some of the biggest names in female MMA, and done it without any hesitation.
Young, who broke into the sport in 2007 at the request of her coaches, will return to the cage in April for Invicta Fighting Championships against Amanda Nunes. She is 7-7-1 in her career, with fights against the likes of Liz Carmouche, Gina Carano and Miesha Tate.
“I didn’t go through a padding-the-record-time,” said Young, during an exclusive interview with Fightline.com. “Some girls have built their records up by facing people with horrific records, but I have had to learn from my losses. I don’t think I would have some of the losses I have had I taken the time to build up my experience, but it has been an amazing experience.”
Young’s first fight came in 2007 when she finished Lindsey Frandrop in the second round. Coming from a background in taekwondo and Thai boxing, there was one certain aspect of MMA that intrigued her the most.
“In amateur Thai boxing, you can’t knee to the head,” Young said. “If you are a kicker like me, your shins are covered so you don’t have the same effect. I remember in that fight, I was so excited that I could knee somebody in the head that it was all I was thinking about. In the fight, it really felt like auto-pilot.”
So, does Young remember if she landed any devastating knees to the head?
“I did, but she was tough as hell and didn’t go down from that. I think I hit her in the head five times,” Young said. “From there, I was hooked. I like how real it was. There are less rules than in Thai boxing or taekwondo, and MMA is just so much more realistic.”
As one of the top female fighters in the world, Young is more than excited to see Ronda Rousey and Carmouche main event a UFC pay-per-view this Saturday night.
“I am so happy about it,” Young stated. “I love Invicta, and I love fighting there, but just the opportunity (to compete in the UFC), and to be headlining……I have no doubt that both are going to have a great showing.”
Last year, Young faced Carmouche at the second Invicta FC show, falling via second round submission. While most are pegging Rousey to successfully defend her UFC bantamweight title, Young wants to make it clear that Carmouche will not be intimidated come Saturday night.
“She never fights scared,” Young said. “She will go in there with an attitude like ‘FU’. Sometimes, and I’m not trying to bash anybody who has fought Ronda, but they seem so afraid of getting taken down that they don’t use their tools.
“I don’t think (Carmouche) will be shy or rush in.”
Young declined to give a prediction on the fight, but did say that “in MMA, there are so many ways (to win fights), that it is not a good idea to bet (on anyone).”
As for her own future, Young will be taking on another well-seasoned opponent in Nunes this April at Invicta FC 5 in Kansas City. The 24-year-old Nunes is 7-3 in her career, including a 2011 win over Julia Budd.
“There is specific things that she does that I think I can take advantage of,” Young stated. “She is very athletic, very aggressive, but there is certainly holes. I’ve been training and watching tape. I have a great group of people to work with (on preparation).”
Rousey, Carmouche, Tate, Cat Zingano, Alexis Davis and Sara McMann have all been confirmed as members of the UFC’s female roster, so is there a chance Young could join them in the future?
“I am exclusive to Invicta,” she said. “I don’t think it would be a possibility.”
Young did want to make sure to say one thing to all the MMA fans out there who may still be on the fence about female fighting.
“Make sure you watch,” Young said. “Every person that watches, counts. It is giving us an opportunity to do what we love for a living. We have a short window (of fighting time) and we really appreciate it.”