Female kick boxer, actress, model turned mixed martial arts sensation, Gina “Conviction” Carano has been paving the way for women’s MMA for the last few years. She’s been featured on Showtime, CBS, and has made the top ten in ESPN’s “Most Beautiful People in Sports.” Although some may view her looks as that of a ring card girl, don’t be fooled- she can throw down with the best of them.
It seems, on a smaller scale, Katy Klinefelter is taking that same path. An undefeated boxer and Thai fighter, Klinefelter has made the transition to mixed martial arts to compete along side her team mates and MCC veterans, Andy Branson, and Nick Lepa. At MCC 24, Klinefelter makes her professional debut against local kick boxer, Cassie Roddish. Excited for the opportunity and exposure, she plans on making a statement loud enough to let the other girls know that there is a new player in town.
Katy Klinefelter began boxing in 2000 as a hobby. She was involved in gymnastics, diving, track and field and volleyball, but the competition and challenge inside the ring is what she truly loved. Although she never expected much to happen, as boxing was viewed as a man’s sport, she was good enough to not only stay undefeated in twenty outings, but represent the United States nationally and internationally in Turkey and Brazil.
Training her Thai boxing under Chris Weitz at ICOR along with the Brazilian Jiu Jitsu team at the University of Iowa, she’s made the transition from boxer to mixed martial artist. Klinefelter recalls, “In 2008 after one week of learning how to kick, I had my first MMA fight. In retrospect that was a really horrible idea, knowing nothing about the sport, but it ended up going well. I won a unanimous three round decision against Jessica “Baby Bull” Hilger. She was tough, and bigger than me, and she was saved by the bell from a couple of submission attempts and did not like my punches. It was enough to get me the decision.”
Her second MMA fight was in 2009. This time, her opponent was 185 lbs- a difference of over 50 lbs. It didn’t matter. Klinefelter won by TKO in the very first round.
We recently caught up with Katy to ask her a few questions.
MCC: Do you get positive or negative attention from being a female fighter?
KK: Overall it is positive. I train just as hard, if not harder than any male fighters, and anyone who sees that is able to look past any gender differences. The comment I get most often is “..but you don’t look like a fighter!” It seems that sometimes I am considered a novelty of the sport. The vast majority of attention is positive though, only every once in a while are there people who are incredulous to the fact that I am a fighter, and a decent one at that.
MCC: How does it feel to be one of few female fighters MMA?
KK: It’s hard to find people to train with. I train mostly with males, but even then it is hard to find someone my own size. Females fight differently, they don’t have quite as much muscle, and their makeup is different so it is different fighting males and females. Overall I think it is a good thing because the guys I train with push me harder, and hit harder and faster than a lot of my opponents which makes me ready for anything that could be thrown at me in a fight.
MCC: Did you get a lot of support from your family and friends when you started boxing? What about MMA?
KK: Initially my parents thought I would try the sport and quit, but once they saw I was sticking with it they have been nothing but supportive. My grandma openly tells me that she hates that I fight, and she wishes I would quit, but none the less she comes to all of my fights and supports me if its what I choose to do. My family has been incredibly supportive of both my boxing and MMA endeavors. My friends are in the sport, so they are always supportive as well.
MCC: Where do you see yourself going in MMA in the upcoming year?
KK: I would like to see how far I can get. No specific goals as of yet because a lot of things come up on short notice. I plan on training hard to be ready for anything and I would like to make 2010 a really active year for fighting for me.
MCC: What do you know and expect out of your opponent, Cassie Roddish?
KK: That’s about it. I know her name, and that she is from Des Moines.
MCC: How do you see the fight playing out?
KK: I never go into a fight with a distinct game plan with a definite ending. I enjoy the flow of the sport and I just try to work on new things, capitalize on whatever weaknesses my opponent has, and play up my strengths. Not knowing anything about my opponent, I can only work on making myself stronger in every aspect of my game. When the fight starts, I will be able to figure out what her weaknesses are and what I can capitalize on. In a perfect fight, I would win by submission. I already know what I can do with my stand up, but I would really like to see how I would do on the ground. I would really like to show that I know some submissions too.
MCC: How does it feel being on MCC 24, knowing your bout will be televised, with a lot of attention on you?
KK: It feels great. I really look forward to the exposure.
MCC: Tell us about your day to day preparations for this bout?
KK: I’m in the gym about every day. I work with a lot of people that have taught me a lot. I alternate between practicing Thai Boxing, Jiu Jitsu, Boxing, Wrestling, and then putting it all together. And of course there’s the cardio/weights everyday. Although we have a great team at ICOR MMA in Iowa City, I am also training a bit at Des Moines MMA in order to be fully prepared for the fight.