A number of weeks ago, we first met Maura Fay, who took up MMA at 32 and was training for her first fight. Well, shes back with an update. And yes, the above picture is a MASSIVE spoiler. Maura overcame huge challenges and put mind over matter to win with a TKO in the blink of an eye. The joy she felt is written all over her face from start to finish proving that you can find your bliss in the most unexpected places, once your mind, heart and eyes remain open. Well done Maura you absolute legend!

“Relax don’t do it, when you want to go to it…”

They’re the lyrics that I’m singing in my mind as I pump my fists into the air while walking down a raised platform towards the octagon. I am about to do my first MMA fight in front of a crowd of around 700 people.

All the sports psychology I have read has emphasised three points in preparing for a fight.

  1. Be relaxed (hence the Frankie Goes To Hollywood classic as my walk on music) – CHECK

  2. Be happy (I have worked on resolving a lot of personal issues over the previous months and achieved my goal weight I set for myself at the beginning of the year) – CHECK

  3. Be prepared (I know my game plan – strike, grapple then take down) – CHECK

Just before I get into the cage, vaseline is rubbed on my eyebrows to help avoid cuts happening. I get in do some warm-up forward rolls while my opponent makes her entrance.

I can’t stop smiling – I am just so happy that the moment I have trained six months for is finally here and I have done everything in my power to give myself the best possible chance of winning. The referee calls us both to the centre of the cage. I can’t remember what he said but we both touch gloves and then it is back to our corners.

The bell goes. I am straight to the middle of the octagon and in my mind it is just like sparring we did in training, except we are hitting with full force. I work my left jab constantly. She comes overhead with a right hook and catches me on the side of the head. I then steady and work my kicks. I land a really nice “teep” kick with is a front kick to the abdomen. Then I go back to the jab and go for a takedown. I end up in “full mount” which is a position where you have really good control of your opponent and continue with the punches. The referee steps in and calls a TKO. I have won my fight one minute and 44 seconds into the first round. I am ecstatic.

I am transformed from the person I was six months previously, both physically and mentally. I can’t wait to continue to battle and grapple with what the rest of life has to throw at me. I can literally roll with the punches. There’s a Bob Marley quote that I came across in the preparation for my fight that will stay with me: “You never know how strong you are until being strong is your only choice.”

You can watch my fight below. And if you think the Wimp2Warrior training programme is something you would like to do (and something I wholeheartedly encourage women to do) then tryouts for Season 3 in Dublin are happening in October and you can find out more about it here: https://www.facebook.com/Wimp2WarriorIreland/

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