Before women’s mma was even thought of, Kathy Long was winning world championships in Muay Thai kickboxing and commentating UFC 1. Over a decade later, it took Gina Carano to convince her to take on mma for the very first time.
“A little over a year and a half ago I was watching Gina Carano and thinking to myself ‘I can beat her.’”
Kathy Long is a pioneer in martial arts. From being a five time world champion, with an 18-1 record before retiring, Long thought she had done everything that she could in her chosen profession. After she watched Carano fight, however, Long decided to give mma a shot.
“The itch to fight was there and I already thought, ‘I’m done Muay Thai, I’m a five time world kickboxing champion – I might as well try something different,’” Long stated on a recent episode of “Sportsgeeks” on Blog Talk Radio.
Eleven years after her last kickboxing match, this 45 year old veteran of combats sports won her first ever mma battle at the “Call Out” MMA card in Ontario, CA August 15 verses Avery Vilche. It has been a struggle to find opponents according to Long. Even after her lengthy absence, her reputation still carries a lot of weight, much to her dismay.
“The struggle with the matchmakers is they ask (the fighters) if they want to fight Kathy Long, and at first they say yes. Then they look me up on youtube, and then they say, ‘Awe, hell no!’ In that regard it’s been a struggle.” Long mention there has been other struggle and advantage coming back.
“There are some challenges and there are some benefits,” Long explains. “I got what they call muscle maturity. It took a lot less time to get into the condition I needed because I had muscle memory. But I have to say I have a lot of nagging injuries that I had here and there that I’m trying to keep at bay that keeps me from competing at my best.”
Long wants to gain a little bit of experience before taking on tougher competition and recommends other fighters do the same. She does recommend that you don’t wait too long to decided to do it though.
“If there’s an opportunity for women, it’s now. And if there is anyone that feels they have some decent ‘all-around’ skills they should get into it quickly.”